Not long after we arrived at our off-grid homestead, we realized that our hot water heater had burst, and drained our 5,000-gallon water tank. Our entire water supply. When you live off-grid, this is considered an emergency situation. Simply stated: Water is life, and without water, there is no life.
As a city dweller, I never understood the essential role that water plays in our lives. Sure, I knew what it meant to have water at my disposal when I turned on the tap, flushed the toilet or took a shower, but I never concerned myself with thoughts like: Where that water was coming from or the possibility that there might be a limited supply.
That all changed when we moved off-grid. All of the water we consume comes from rain and is stored inside a container standing next to our house. This is a sobering thought. To look out your window and see that your water supply is finite is something I’ve never had to consider in my entire life.
So, after our initial feelings of shock, disappointment and disbelief had settled, we discussed our options: Either wait for rain, haul water from the nearest county water station or hire a truck to haul water (which proved to be difficult since there are no paved roads leading to our house).
All things considered the reality is: We must do without water until we can get some.
But before we could make a decision as to which course of action would be more appropriate for us, there was a more personal, immediate emergency I had to attend to: I had to poo.
Perhaps you can sympathise with my predicament: Have you ever waited all day so that you could poo in the comfort of your own home? That was me on that particular day. Except now, the option of a flushing toiled was simply, not an option.
For my resourceful husband, this did not seem to pose the slightest problem. His solution was simple: Dig a hole.
I stood there, eyes wide and blinking, and I realized that the situation had taken a turn for the worse. He wasn’t kidding.
Feeling humiliated to have admitted to my new husband that I had to poo in the first place (something I generally do not like to advertise), now I was also faced with the conundrum that I might have to dig a hole for my own excrement. The thought terrified me.
At that moment, I couldn’t t help but think about the large package I had picked up at the post office earlier that day: My remaining clothes from the city, including my Miu Miu (a subsidiary of Prada) strappy-brown leather sandals had finally arrived.
The contrast was ardent: Here I was, living off-grid in Hawaii, no water, no flushing toiled, with afore named sandals sitting limply, helplessly, beautifully, on the bed.
The magnitude of how unprepared I was for life in the jungle had never felt so real to me than in that moment. I realized that what I had relied upon to serve me in the city, was far from the things that would serve me here.
Whether or not you consider what happened next a stroke of luck, or equally awkward and humiliating, is entirely up to you:
My husband has this creative idea: Poop inside an empty coconut as if it were a miniature toilet. Close the coconut after you are done, and dispose of it in the jungle.
I, along with my Miu Miu shoes, were incredulous. But nature called (pun intended) and that is exactly what I did.
There have been many adventures, learning experinces and down right life changing moments in the past year and a half. I consider this to be one of the most memorable.
The devil may wear Prada, but does she poop in coconuts?
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This blog was created to share my belief that the art making process can be a vehicle for empowerment.
I am living proof.