23 November 2007

day 23 :: toilets/choos [retroactive]

This is our latrine. This is the pit into which Wallace fell. This is the source of much angst since I arrived. This is the reason I sat crying under a porch on the first day I was here. No one had mentioned the pit latrine.

In defense of the pit latrine, I have to say that I’m pretty much used to it. I hardly mind it anymore, except in the heat of the middle of the day, but that’s due to the fact that the shed is made out of metal. Even a shiny clean toilet seat wouldn’t make it less hot in there in the middle of the day. And it’s less gross than a sit down toilet that is too dirty to sit on. Since the ladies we hired to clean feel that cleaning is beneath them, there is very little cleaning that occurs around here. I think a pit latrine is the best possible option, given all these circumstances. Also, a stripey lizard and a big spider have moved in there and they keep the flies down.

In defense of Africa, I have to say that this is the first time I’ve ever had to use a pit latrine on a regular basis. Many people in Africa do use pit latrines or the great outdoors and I’ve had to use them while traveling, but I have always had a real toilet in my hotels and my houses (minus those weeks in a village when I was a baby, but at that point I was using diapers, so no problem). In fact, Rwanda made me a bit of a toilet snob. I used to stop at the Intercontinental Hotel just to use the clean toilets and the good-smelling soap.

Don’t not visit Africa because of this latrine.

By way of contrast, this is my toilet once I moved into a self-contained room in Elsewhere:

Isn’t that pretty? Pretty, pretty, pretty?

1 comment:

Monday's Child said...

I hear you re toilets... although I suspect I am a tad fussier than you are... I don't think i would have CRIED though!!!1 hehehehee... I am always amazed by my own and other human being's capacity to accomadate... is that the word... get used to is what I mean... something that can be quite shocking to one... is usually very easily and quickly assimilated as normal...

anyway, I will admit that growing up in Africa has definately mad eme much more aware of the "toilet situation" as I call it... i.e. what is toilet like? where is the toilet? when is the next toilet? is there water? all question I find myself constantly asking... Don't talk to me about the lovely scenery or the quaint whatevers... FIRST tell me about the toilet situation... I need time to come to terms with it... he he he...