Failure to Thrive

When you’re slidin’ into first, and you’re feelin’ something burst: diarrhea, diarrhea…

My brother and I got a lot of mileage out of this little diddy from the movie Parenthood when we were younger. We could sing it over and over again and make each other laugh every time. I wonder now if we even knew what real diarrhea was.

That song has come to mind many times since we’ve moved here and have had to come to terms with this unpleasant part of living in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s become such a ubiquitous part of life that us expat wives talk openly about it. Each day we catch up on gossip, recipes, vacation stories… and how things are going in the bathroom.

I’ve totally forgotten that this is a taboo subject back home. I should probably be carefully monitored at cocktail parties when we move back. But here, talking openly about “our plumbing,” as a friend calls it, is nearly as common as the weather or the newest restaurants nearby. (Which, often, are tied closely together.)

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