Tag Archives: search terms

Monkeys drinking wine, nude maternity photos, and other such topics

I know I said I was going to put up a post on author’s favorite children’s books today, but I’m not. It’s taking longer than I thought it would to draft and I want to do it right. So that’s on next week’s schedule for Writing Wednesday.

In the meantime, in keeping with the childhood theme this week, I’m going to put up a post containing material completely unsuitable for children.

How is that in keeping with the theme of childhood, you might ask? Well, it’s in keeping with mine. To wit, an excerpt from the soon to be published Love At The Speed Of Email:

“Like many kids, I suspect, I was drawn to stories of outsiders or children persevering against all odds in the face of hardship. I devoured all of C.S. Lewis’ stories of Narnia and adored the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett, especially the ones featuring little girls who were raised in India before being exiled to face great hardship in Britain. But I also strayed into more adult territory. I trolled our bookshelves and the bookshelves of family friends, and those bookshelves were gold mines for stories about everything from religious persecution to murder, rape, civil war, child brides, and honor killing.

“It would be nice,” my father commented dryly upon reading the first draft of this chapter, “if you could manage not to make it sound like our personal library was stocked exclusively with troubling filth.”

“Dad,” I explained, “that’s why I used the gold-mine analogy. You don’t just stumble across gold; you have to dig for it. I worked really hard to find that stuff in amongst all the boring family-friendly fare you were prone to buying.”

Additionally, this post is in keeping with the theme of childhood because, as everyone knows, children can ask a lot of questions. And just as a responsible parent answers their children’s questions (at least the first five times they’re asked), a responsible blogger answers her reader’s questions.

Today I woke up feeling responsible, so here are my answers to some recent search terms and questions asked of google that have led people to my blog.

In no particular order:

When do stitches come out after delivery? They don’t. They sew you up using special thread that dissolves over time.

Monkey drinking wine picture: Here (it should be noted that I was not feeding the monkey wine):

Where can I steal a baby monkey? You should be ashamed of yourself.

What is a cluster bomb? A form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller sub-munitions. Laos is, unfortunately, littered with them – see this post on the UXO museum here.

Bonsai dog: People, I get this one all the time and as far as I know, there is no such thing as a bonsai dog. There are bonsai trees. There are dogs. End of story.

White dog looks like husky: This one post has made me somewhat of a go-to person on white dogs that look like huskies. There are four options – Samoyed, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamut & Shiba Inu.

Butchering Samoyeds: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Bad puppy chewing rug: Here:

Treating lympedema in puppies: If anyone has any good information on this (or, more usefully, on treating lymphedema in people), leave it below.

Do koalas bite people? No, but drop bears do. Follow the link to familiarize yourself with Australia’s most fearsome predator, the drop bear.

Funny dead cats in oven: Haven’t seen any of these lately, sorry.

Should I move to Laos? Why not, go for it.

Where can I get a Lao second wife? You’ll figure this one out quickly enough on your own after you move here. (And, PS, you should be ashamed of yourself).

Phallic rocks: Here (you may also want to google Cappadocia, Turkey):

How loud is a sperm whale? The sonar clicks produced by sperm whales are the loudest sound produced by a living creature, as loud as thunder. Apparently, when a sperm whale clicks at a diver it’s like getting kicked in the chest by a horse.

Lisa McKay sex trade worker: Not me, people. Lisa Ann McKay. She was convicted of killing a realtor in 2006 and she was recently released.

Does pornography change young minds? Yes. And older minds. For an excellent discussion of this seek out the book The Brain That Changes Itself and read chapter four on Acquiring Tastes and Loves.

How can I break my arm on rollerblades? By falling over.

Elf-milk: Um… drawing a blank on this one. Sorry.

Can I eat sorbet when pregnant? Absolutely, during the last three weeks of pregnancy I helped myself to a bowl (or two) some time between midnight and 4am every day.

Nude maternity photos: Here: … Kidding. I’m so not going there. And before you start looking through all my other posts, I cannot figure out why two people landed on my blog using this search term. Honestly.

That’s it for this session of 20 questions folks. If you have a question for me, you know where to find me. And if you forget, apparently you can just google nude maternity photos.

Have a good weekend.

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Jesus wants you to build a toilet

Recently Alexis Grant mentioned on The Traveling Writer that someone had googled “best travel memoir’s by women” and landed on her blog. It made her day.

This piqued my curiosity. How were people (people other than my mother, that is) landing on my blog?

It took a while to figure out how to get this information, but a bit of my own googling eventually told me how to access the search terms on the blog stats page. So without further ado…

The number one search terms – lisa mckay and lisa mckay laos – made total sense to me.

The second most trafficked search terms – laos and laos writing – made less sense. I’m not quite sure how it’s possible to google an entire country and find my blog, but perhaps this is an unanticipated bonus to living in the least developed landlocked nation in Asia.

Then things started to get even weirder. The following search terms all showed up on the list:

  1. Lao snake
  2. giant snake Laos
  3. sneck in laos (no, I am not making these up)
  4. daaaaaate in asia.com
  5. pepsi from the fat of pig
  6. zozo spray India (pretty sure that one’s your fault, Jos)
  7. pebbles like girl scouts
  8. tropical waterfall
  9. honeymoon constipated
  10. poo laos existence
  11. males doing toilet on roads

If I were to take this as a guide to the sort of content my readers really want, I might conclude that my niche market is writing about toilets (or lack thereof) in Laos. That and snakes.

So for all you lovers of toilet stories, today I have a really good one for you. It was written by Mike a couple of years ago and published here by Reuters AlertNet. Enjoy.

Jesus wants you to build a toilet

by Mike Wolfe

“Jesus wants you to build a toilet for the women,” I told Pastor Barry in my best broken Tok Pisin. Normally I feel a bit annoyed when people make Jesus the poster child for their personal cause. I remember, for example, the billboard in Atlanta a few years ago that showed a picture of a cherubic Jesus and stated “Jesus was a vegetarian.” I laughed nearly every time I saw it.

But Pastor Barry wore a baseball cap that sported the phrase “Jesus is my boss”, so I figured I had his attention.

We were sitting on a bamboo bench on Petats Island in Papua New Guinea. A refreshing sea breeze rustled the coconut palms and mango trees. The bright red hibiscus flowers danced in the wind. It was a beautiful Pacific morning. A perfect day for conducting an evaluation of the water and sanitation project that World Vision is implementing in the region.

I had just inspected one of the new ventilated improved pit toilets built near the church. It’s a really well constructed toilet. And Pastor Barry keeps a lock on it. The women told me it’s only used on Sundays or special occasions. Apparently Pastor Barry doesn’t want people using it regularly. So most of the time people go in the bush or walk into the sea. But sometimes they get to use the nice new toilet.

I asked the women whether they liked it. They giggled, perhaps on account of my broken Tok Pisin, and perhaps because they were embarrassed that a white man with notebook, camera and funny GPS unit strung around his neck was asking them whether they like defecating in the lone toilet. After the initial embarrassment, the eyes of one of the women lit up. “Yes,” she told me. “We feel safe with the toilet.”

The United Nations has proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. That may seem irrelevant for those of us who are able to flush and forget. But roughly one third of people on the planet don’t have access to improved sanitation. That more or less means 2 billion people relieve themselves in the bush.

Lack of improved sanitation has all sorts of negative effects on public health. Like dead children – diarrhea is still the leading cause of death for children under five. Like the additional burden for mothers who regularly have to take care of a sick child. Like cholera outbreaks – ever hear of cholera occurring in a place with improved sanitation? Nope.

Sanitation is a basic human need. If you look at the data from New York, London, and Paris before those cities built sewers, you’ll see their mortality rates were about the same as mortality rates today in Sub Saharan Africa.

On my first year in an overseas posting as a water and sanitation engineer, my focus was on improving access to clean water and sanitation. Women in displacement camps in northern Uganda would often wait in line for two hours to pump water, while some 1500 schoolchildren would have to share two toilets. So we drilled more wells and built more toilets.

I spent my second year in Sri Lanka where thousands of houses had been destroyed by the tsunami. In addition to rebuilding schools, health clinics, and homes, we installed hundreds of wells and built hundreds of toilets.

In Papua New Guinea I’ve begun focusing more on improving hygiene practices than building infrastructure. We can build lots of toilets, but what if people don’t actually use them? (Happens more often than you may think.) And if people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, it’s likely there will be hardly any improvements in health.

So for the past year my focus has been on behavior change: improving hygiene practices that complement improvements in infrastructure. But while assessing this project, I’ve been particularly moved by something that isn’t directly related to safe water or improved sanitation.

Before our project, the women walked an hour or more to get water. To relieve themselves, they walked far into the bush or the mangroves. The women told us they used to get sexually assaulted by men hiding in the bush. Now that there are water taps and toilets close to their homes, they no longer get attacked on trips to fetch water or go to the loo.

Domestic and sexual violence against women is prevalent in the Pacific. I reckon that women tend to get the short end of the stick all around the world but it seems to me to be particularly bad here. In the Pacific, the women are damn lucky if they get any of the stick at all, because most of the time the men take the stick and beat them with it. Given a choice, I reckon I’d prefer to be a woman in Afghanistan than a woman in PNG.

On Petats the women told me that they felt safe when they used the new toilet.

“You know the Bible and I know the Bible,” I said to Pastor Barry. “You know that Jesus loved the mamas and he loved the weak and the vulnerable. I think Jesus wants you to build a toilet for the women.”

I hope he will.

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