This story is rated FG for female content. Female guidance or a strong drink is advised. Males you’ve been warned.
It was the most embarrassing question I had to ask about a new job. I had interviewed with five people, 3 men and 2 women and I decided to ask Emily, who provides support to the Iraq office from Washington D.C. I e-mailed her, “Emily I have a little bit of an embarrassing question to ask, but can you buy tampons in Kuwait?
In my previous visit to the Middle East I had run out of tampons in Egypt and there was not a single feminine product to be found. Luckily it was the end of my period, so I was able to get by, but that experience was what prompted me to ask the question.
I received a response a day later. She said that during her last visit to Kuwait, she had a tampon in her bag and the security guards who went through her bag didn’t know what it was. When they finally figured it out they were very embarrassed so she advise me to take as many as I needed. So, on a trip back to Boise I had my Mom take me to Costco and I picked up four boxes of 100 tampons each. She said, “I’m not sending you any,” and plopped a fifth box in my arms. So, I packed 500 in my shipment and then just to be safe I packed another 80 to take in my luggage.
Mercy Corps put me up in an apartment for one week until I found my own place. I unpacked a little bit knowing I was going to move shortly.
I moved to the Miami Suites a week later on September 2, as I was leaving I thought to myself, I should look one last time in all the drawers, but I didn’t. I had been really tired from working the weekend and then I worked the next weekend also, because people from the office were in town.
I had two meetings scheduled for Wednesday, one with a woman who does adaptive computer technology for people with disabilities and then I had second meeting that evening at the sports center for Kuwaiti’s disabled.
Waking up Wednesday morning, I started looking for my stash of tampons. I looked and looked and then I started to look more frantically, tearing things apart and then I started to panic and I went through everything again and again and then just once again to be sure. They were nowhere to be found.
I started talking to myself, don’t panic, you left them at the old apartment, just get dressed and go get them.
Walking into the building where I first stayed and where I work, I asked at the front desk if they had found something that I left in my room. The manager yelled for Hasif, one of the Indians who worked there and then I had one of my second most embarrassing conversations. I asked Hasif if he found something of mine after I left. He kept saying maxi and then something else, over and over again. And then I heard the word garbage. Finally, Nassar the driver finally had to translate. He did find something and he thought it was garbage, so he threw it out. I asked him if I could check the garbage and he said that it was long gone.
I couldn’t believe it, I was absolutely astounded that someone would find something and just throw it away. Our office is in the same building he could have just brought it up, of course that would have been even more embarrassing. I was astounded and then frustrated and I just couldn’t believe it. I think he thought I was mad and I couldn’t talk to him anymore otherwise I was going to be mad. I probably seemed mad to him. So I didn’t want to come off like a Kuwaiti, so the next day I apologized to him. He seemed surprised like he rarely received apologies and he kept apologizing back to me.
Luckily after my first meeting that morning I was able to go to the store, the only store that I have found that carries tampons in Kuwait City. Of course, they only carry one brand.
The best laid plans . . . or as Ferrero would say “Classic Tozer.”