The Volunteer and the Frog

The first time we met I was taking a shower. It was around 6:30 a.m. and I was hoping the cold water would help me to stay cool and it did – for about 15 minutes.

I reached to shelf, popping up onto my tiptoes, grabbing a bottle of shower gel and there he (this is the pronoun I’ve given my pal) was, watching me intently. I was worried, of course, first thinking he was a poison dart frog and this was how it would end for me. I study human rights and journalism, I know very little about frogs. Thankfully, I finished my shower, unharmed, and forgot about the frog.

Over the course of the next month, my newfound friend leapt his way into my life. Jumping off the toilet paper roll, surprising me at 11 p.m., hanging out by the mirror to watch me as I brushed my teeth. The first few times, I was annoyed. He would pop out of seemingly nowhere suctioning on while I tried to go about my morning or catching me completely off guard at night. This guy needed to learn a few things about boundaries.

I thought back to the five-hour drive from Colombo to Hambantota, remembering the last minute tidbits I had been peppered with as we drove by tea plantations and bumped up and down the unpaved roads.

“Remember to close your bathroom window. We are tropical country – we have these things called rats.” That hadn’t exactly calmed my nerves as I forayed into an unknown space.

I considered the frog in front of me, planted on the mirror, right in the middle of my reflection.

“Well, you’re no rat so, this is good.”

After some research, and a tingling fear that he was a poison dart frog waiting for the right moment, I learned I’m in the company of a golden frog.

As I spent more time with the frog, I realized not only am I enjoying a new experience, I’m basically a Disney princess.

True, I don’t live in New Orleans in the 1920s nor am I trying to open a restaurant after years of hard work but I do seem to be stalked by a frog.

My reaction, every time. 

A few days later I bring up my amphibian friend to the Australian volunteers also working in the office. One of them nods in acknowledgement.

“I have about two in my bathroom.”

And with that, my Disney fairy tale comes to a close.

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