Port-o-potty predicaments & protocol, part 2

Kapisa Province, Afghanistan --  Today, we stayed overnight at an old presidential palace at Lake Sirobi. Can you guess what that hole in the ground is? (Now, guess who had a heck of a time trying to use it!)

Kapisa Province, Afghanistan —
Today, we stayed overnight at an old presidential palace at Lake Sirobi. Can you guess what that hole in the ground is? (Now, guess who had a heck of a time trying to use it!)

Man, oh man … the things I do for my country.

Today’s post is a continuation of a previous one about the, um, “unique” situations we face when deployed. (Again, for those who are too highbrow to read text about the most human of bodily functions, consider this your warning to stop reading now.)

Today, we went to Kabul to meet with the Deputy Minister of Public Works for Afghanistan. (He’s one of the main people responsible for road construction.) As our team’s engineer discussed roadwork, I took notes for a possible story to translate into Dari (the local language) and then be broadcast over Afghan radio.

Before we left, the Minister offered us lunch … Kabobs were delicious, especially with the Afghan bread.

Driving through Kabul was kind of a tense ride for me (as most rides outside the wire are,) because we drove down the main drag, where lots of suicide bombers have been targeting coalition forces lately. Our MRAPS (armored trucks) stick out like sore thumbs in the city, kind of like a tank driving in downtown Denver. Luckily, all went well.

We stayed the night in Southern Tag Ab province (the place where we were in our first firefight.) Near Lake Sirobi, there is an old house, which used to be a presidential palace during the Taliban era. Since then it has been used by the Afghan National Army, and they let us use it from time to time. (See the pic, below. Nice, huh? It’s much better than the house of the average Afghan.)

We stayed the night in Southern Tag Ab province (the place where we were in our first firefight.) Near Lake Sirobi, there is an old house, which used to be a presidential palace during the Taliban era. Since then it has been used by the Afghan National Army, and they let us use it from time to time. (Nice, huh? It’s much better than the house of the average Afghan.) 

It’s got a beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. We parked our MRAPS, doffed our gear and tried to relax and prepare for the next day.

Then the kabobs hit me. Those delicious beef kabobs with the delicious Afghan bread … They wanted out.

No problem, we’re in a former president’s house. There should be a bathroom in the house somewhere, right? Right … Except I’m in Afghanistan. The bathroom was not the sit-down-and-read-a-paper variety. It was the lift-up-your-man-dress-while-you-squat-over-a-hole variety. I don’t have much experience using these types of toilets. In fact, I don’t have ANY.

But, hey, this is war, after all. And, I am the adventurous sort. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

(This is your final warning. Stop reading if you’re disgusted easily.)

First, I positioned my feet on the foot grips and checked for stability. (I didn’t want my feet slipping while I was, um, “thinking.” Seemed stable enough.

Then I dropped my trousers around my ankles. Problem number one: How do I squat down and not lose my balance? There was nothing to hold on to. (See the picture.) So, I figured to myself … the Afghans just must be used to squatting while self-supported. Heck, if they can do it, I can do it.

I tried to squat down. I was able to lower my body over the hole. That’s when problem number two arose: How do I make sure my, um, “class 2 download” doesn’t hit my trousers or the heels of my feet? I tried to pull my trousers forward while still around my ankles, but this threw off my balance.

Still, I was determined. I waited and fought with my muscles to stabilize myself. Once I was finally “comfortable” with my position, problem number three arose: I simply can’t go like this. Call it a psychological thing. Even though I had to go, my body just didn’t want to do it. There was no immediate fix for this … I just had to fight with my mind to convince myself that I could go. I lost that fight.

Accepting defeat, I pulled up my trousers and thought about the alternatives. Sadly, we were outside the wire … There were no port-o-potties around in sight. And, since the lake house is located in secluded area, in the middle of nowhere, that only left one option.

That’s right. I had to perform a “class 2 download” out in the open.

It was still light outside, so the first part of the plan was for me to wait until nightfall. (There was no WAY I was going to risk being seen by the troops “thinking” out in the open. I’d never live it down!) So, I waited until it became dark.

And, oh, how dark it became. There are no streetlights, and no other houses around. So, I strapped on a headlamp and ventured up the side of a mountain near the lakehouse, TP in hand. Also by my side was my 9mm Beretta, because I’ll be DAMNED if an insurgent was gonna take advantage of my vulnerability by attacking me during my “download.”

I found a place near the side of a cliff, held on to a rock with one hand, simulated sitting in a familiar position, dropped trow and performed the “class 2 download.” My other hand was on my weapon … I kid you not.

I performed a combat “class 2 download” today, all in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Damn you, Taliban! Damn you!

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