Beyond the Breaking Point

No more soiling our neighbors' "living room"
No more soiling our neighbors’ “living room”

I’m happy to report that I didn’t have to abandon my thirteen-month investment in the lawn outside Casa Kumasi. As it turned out, my house mate Jay took action which ultimately salvaged that small patch of green.

Within three days of posting “Breaking Point,” the lawn was covered in garbage from one end to the other. I told my house mates the day I reached my limit that I was washing my hands of the problem. It wasn’t worth exposing myself to god knows what. The neighbor’s dogs were having a heyday.

When I went out the gate with Allison, she said, “Don’t look!” and I did my best not to. Both Allison and Jay noted that “It smells bad.” Indeed, our front lawn had begun to stink like a garbage truck.

So Jay asked his co-worker Ray to speak with our next door neighbors because none of us speak enough Twi or French to pull off a diplomatic conversation.

At first they were confused about why the garbage outside our home mattered. They had assumed it was coming from our household – the tomato paste tins, disposable diapers and canine skulls, corn husks, flying toilets and used sanitary napkins.

“They like to keep things clean.” Ray explained. “You should see their yard inside the gate, they have gardens, the grass is mowed and there’s no garbage.” “They really care about the environment,” he added, “They compost all their scraps and take their plastic garbage to the landfill in a taxi. None of the trash out here is theirs.”

“Well,” the neighbors countered, “We see her moving the trash to the other side of the street near where we sit and we don’t like that.” But that’s all they could come up with.

Jay told me all of this and I dared to hope a little that Ray’s talk would have an effect. The next morning I went out to take a picture and 70% of the trash was gone!

I decided to meet them halfway and give it one more shot. Using two reedy rakes, I cleaned up the remaining garbage and mowed the lawn. I found a different place to dispose of it because Jay felt we should be sensitive to their complaint.

Amazingly, with the exception of some teeth and bones, the lawn has remained manageable. The neighbors solved the problem by eating a lot of meat. These past three weeks, they butchered three of their four dogs.

Oh, and flying toilets. If you don’t know that this is you will have to “Google” it because I’m not going to write about that here at Plastic Farm Animals.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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