Card Stories: An iPhone at the Bottom of a Pit Latrine

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Good morning! It’s hump day!

Like you, we are really regretting that extra beer we had with fireworks last night. And since you’re avoiding getting back to work, here’s a Card Story to liven up your morning.

Have you ever wondered if your iPhone would survive being launched into a steaming pile of fecal matter?? Me neither.

Until one day..

In the middle of East Africa and desperate for a pee, I squatted in the ever-awkward position over the 3-metre-deep pit latrine. Determined, focused and with the agile dexterity of the impala – I attempt not to let my precious toes make contact with the ground or, worse still, fall victim of the ‘spray effect’.

Upon hearing a squelchy thud, humour momentarily crossed my mind as to what had fallen into the vat of excrement below. Until I realised my iPhone, which had been conveniently lodged in the back pocket of my jeans, had been released from its position by the famous ‘gusset pull’.

What to do? Keep it quiet. I’m not going to live down the endless japing from the 5 friends circulating the nearby craft stall. Or… go for full disclosure and announce to the world “something really bad has happened”. An embarrassing cringe-worthy statement from a humanitarian worker who really should know better.

It turns out that as an accomplished professional in my (let’s-say) mid-thirties, I am one of the millions that inexplicably cannot do life without the demon Apple attached to my hand. Which means there is one thing for which I am prepared to wade around in a reservoir of bodily fluids (well, at least pay someone else to).

The unprecedented joyful response which ensued made me wonder why I had never done this before, and brought so much delight to so many. Exclaims of “this is the best weekend ever” and photos/videos/immediate social media posts of the event made me feel like a minor celebrity. How could I feel anything but pure happiness that my iPhone would forever be a carrier of Cholera.

The engineering skill of five men; cutting down trees, banana leaf binding with bottles and hoes, the removal of the latrine roof (yes, really) allowing the retrieval device to be vertically elevated, and the hour long commitment to the cause, meant that I was once again reunited with my precious piece of technology.

The good people of Apple will be enchanted to know that not only does it work perfectly, but it has earned me the catchy and, quite frankly, endearing nickname ‘Typhoid-Mary’.

It remains only the pity that despite extreme Dettol/waragi cleansing and cling-film cover, my little ‘bare-necessity’ can no longer be my pillow-side companion.

Like this story? Read more!

We here at JadedAid love our card stories; real life misadventures of the incidents depicted on our playing cards. Here are a few good ones:

Have your own? Do share your card story with us.

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Card Stories: Getting Your Vibrator Confiscated at the Airport

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Ugandan officials finds huge dildo and leopard fur handcuffs in development worker’s bag at Entebe International Airport.
Yes this actually happened: Ugandan officials found a huge dildo and leopard fur handcuffs in a development worker’s bag at Entebe International Airport.

Women working in development are fearless. Our families and friends marvel at our courage to travel around the world, making small talk at holidays with questions such as, “Are you afraid of anything?”

The answer: Yes!

We may not be afraid of being kidnapped by rebel leaders or contracting Zika, but there is one fear that nearly every female development worker has had… airport security officials finding your sex toys. And from the many times its happened, including the photo above, comes the JadedAid answer card, “Getting your vibrator confiscated at the airport.”

Buy your JadedAid card game right now on Amazon.com

A fundamental rule of humanitarian work is you must take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Whether stuck in a compound in Afghanistan or just taking a long and lonely trip to the bush (heh heh heh), a vibrator or dildo can be the difference between becoming the crazy bitch that derails the project or a chilled out leader that gets shit done. Take care of your human-itarian needs first and foremost!

While there is no shame in traveling with handy self-help tools, no one wants to have their toys paraded in front of a line of impatient travelers (which may include coworkers)! So we at JadedAid have compiled a list of 5 things you can do to mitigate against unfortunate airport discoveries…

  1. Check dildos longer than 7 inches. Larger toys can trigger TSA’s rule against carrying on “hand tools” longer than 7 inches in length that can be used as a baton or club.
  2. Invest in a more discrete devices. If you travel a lot, consider purchasing toys that will fly below the radar such as a lipstick bullet vibe.
  3. Take the batteries out. Nothing will draw attention to your bag like an audible buzzing sound or mild vibration. Duh.
  4. Bag it. Put your dildo in a clear plastic bag. Even if it is discovered, you’ll avoid that uncomfortable look on the Ugandan official’s face indicating he regrets leaving his latex gloves in the break room.
  5. Send yourself a care package. If you have diplomatic pouch privileges mailing your toys may be the best option. Especially in countries where sex toys are illegal.

Of course, if your sex toys do get confiscated, well there’s always the fall back plan: going local with a well-hung Senegalese boyfriend.

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Driving the Development Conversation with JadedAid

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When we first envisioned JadedAid, we thought we’d make a fun little game we could play with friends while we shared a few beers. Along the development process, we realized that JadedAid had the potential to catalyze real transformative dialog at various development institutions and industry confabs.

JadedAid isn’t just a distraction to keep you from remembering how many beers you (probably shouldn’t have) had, it is a prism into our everyday frustrations as worker bees in the DIC.

In April, I gave a talk at Switchpoint, the premier collision point of dialogs on “humanitarian innovation, global health, and technology.” The title of my talk was “JadedAid, jargon, and real innovation.” But I decided to deviate slightly from the topic to focus on the personal.

As I’ve talked about in a previous Card Story, we all have a role to play in making the world a better place. However, it continues to be the case that there are limited roles for members of the Global South to have meaningful careers and roles in international development.

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One of the cool things that happened later in the day in the break out sessions was how organizations and practitioners in speak and represent the work that they do. A lot of the themes our game touches on are around how we communicate the work that we do. Do we insert ourselves into the story, as the voice for a cause or are we there to elevate local capacity and voices that are actually working on those issues?

It was a great discussion and an opportunity to watch communications professionals at high powered aid organizations grapple with their organizations mode of communicating and representation.

If you haven’t yet, have a watch and let us know what you think.

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Your Dream Come True: JadedAid Expansion Packs

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Sustainable innovation at scale requires constant adaptive management, best if it leads to project extensions and a follow-on award. That’s why we’re excited to announce our next effort to please the donor at any cost:

JadedAid Expansion Packs

We will be releasing 54-card JadedAid expansion packs this fall, and in our participatory user-centered tradition, we’re making all voices count! We’re turning to you, our stakeholder ecosystem, to help us break through existing constraints and achieve a new level of resilience.

Please Vote Today

We need your help in deciding which expansion packs to offer first. Please take this brief survey to:

  1. Vote for your favorite expansion pack theme. Options include:
    • International Edition that takes the piss out of donors like DFID, The Banks, UN, etc.
    • Innovation Edition with ICT, drones, challenges, social enterprises and other silver bullet solutions
    • Peace Corps Edition so you can brag about your two years getting drunk in the bush
    • Gender Edition that delivers empowerment jargon that mascaras as impact, in a special pink case
    • M&E Edition of blank cards so you can make up whatever outcomes will please the donor
    • Other? Tell us what you need to get through the next fiscal year end.
  2. Suggest question & answer cards for the theme of your choice.
    • The original JadedAid deck was made from over 2,000 card suggestions, which is why you love it so much. If we use your card idea in the final versions, you get a free expansion pack!

Voting Deadline is July 22! After that, you can still submit card ideas and start pre-ordering the chosen expansion pack.

Buy the JadedAid Combo Pack

In the mean time, check out our band new JadedAid Combo Pack: a Card Deck and T-Shirt for only $30a 25% savings! That’s a deal so good, you should Get One, Give One right now.

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CardStories: A gift of live chickens and a stalk of plantains

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I was a Peace Corps volunteer and had recently moved to post. My market was an hour away so I would go into town in the morning to give myself plenty of time to shop and walk back before it got too hot. One day, after buying my normal weekly provisions, I stopped to buy a pineapple from a woman with two toddlers sleeping at her feet. I asked if her kids were twins, which are sacred in my country of service, and she nodded. I pulled out a photo of me and my twin and she got so excited that she started yelling to everyone around us, “The foreigner is a twin!” While I answered her questions about my sister and ate the pineapple she gave me for free just for being a twin, more gifts from who-knows-where piled up at my feet. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening, but among other random items, I ended up with a stalk of plantains three feet tall and two live chickens.

Continue reading CardStories: A gift of live chickens and a stalk of plantains

Categories: Card Stories