The bathroom is a great place to find contrasts between America and Indonesia. Besides using the squatty potty, Indonesians don’t take showers. At least, not showers as most Americans know them. In the stead of shower they mandi. Mandi literally means bath or shower, though what they actually do is better described as a bucket bath.
When people think about the Peace Corps they often do so in a somewhat romantic and idealized way. Most of the pictures non-Peace Corps people see are of volunteers in stock photo-esque situations. Leaning over a child and pointing to a new word in a book. Looking at a map with a local and pointing to a remote village that needs clean water. Standing in a field with a farmer pointing off in the distance to the future (I don’t know about you, but I imagine a lot of pointing when I think of stock photography). Perhaps another fitting image that comes to mind is of a volunteer eating an exotic food. But one thought that probably does not occur to people outside of the Peace Corps is the diarrhea that that volunteer will suffer through for eating such an exotic food.
Before coming to Indonesia one of the things that I ofttimes thought about, and not in a particularly nervous or anxious way, was the squatty potty. The kamar kecil (small room). The porcelain hole in the ground.