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We thought we had it bad…

January 12, 2009

Okay, so gasoline is still kind of a pain in Kigali, but it’s getting better, and I don’t really drive, so I’m disallowed from complaining.

Especially when, to the country to my left, a friend doing primate research is facing a more severe shortage:

The real dire situation, funnily though, is with toilet paper. It’s not just that it’s expensive now ($1.50 a roll!) but that there isn’t any.

None! In the whole town!

Unwilling to accept our terrible, crappy fate (ba dum *ch!*), I asked Seba how it was possible for the town to have no toilet paper. I mean, what were people using?! Leaves?!

“Notebooks!” he responded.

I recently met a Rwandan official who showed me pictures of a trip to the US; according to him, in Denver, they are “cultivating” a plant whose leaves are used as toilet paper. (In case I misunderstood, he mimed the action.) Just pluck a fresh leaf from the stem, and go. Why this plant? “It’s very soft.”

Which leaves one a bit concerned about those who are opting for the notebooks…

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