Thursday, November 21, 2013

The PeePoo Solution.

Is it the 1st of April ? No, unfortunately not. The news item that has just been passed on France 24 does actually seem to be true, although it seems scarcely possible.

And it is the Swedes, my countrymen  who are responsible , I am deeply ashamed to admit.
Its a question of the alleged lack of toilets in Africa. The programme shows a porcelain toilet and the presenter comes up with some staggering statistics about lack of toilets in Africa . I believe they must be talking about the flushing,  porcelain variety. Yes, indeed they are quite right. There IS a  lack of Chaises Anglaises in Africa. In Djenne for instance, there are only about twenty such perhaps, and fourteen of them are at Hotel Djenne Djenno.  That does not mean that people are squatting in the street however. Amazing as it seems, Africans have managed to dispose of their no 2s even without the the ingenuity of Swedish NGOs.  But this is Mali. The programme was about East Africa, where there seems to be some problem.  Never fear, however,  the Swedes have come up with  the solution : People are supposed to shit into cute little bio degradable plastic bags, no doubt designed by IKEA.

There was a representative from the PeePoo people on the programme, explaining the invention : he said that it would be useful for people without  toilets, they could indeed deposit their  number 2s  in the PeePoo bag, then dig a hole and bury the bag in the comfort of their own garden.  There was also some added deodorant in the bag, to make this a more pleasurable experience .  Now, if this is the way people are supposed to do it, why can’t they just shit in a potty and then bury the content and wash out the potty ?  Lord, give us strength and save us from Swedish inventions. I wonder how much the PeePoo people are paid ?


Blogger Mzungu said...

PeePoo - I had to smile when a friend forwarded the link to this blog:
PeePoo (I am not liaised in any way with them) - is not an IKEA invention. Its a well known Swedish architect who came up with this idea that might sound useless as you are describing it. But in the slums of Nairobi about 1 million people live on a very minimal area. No garden to dig the content of a potty, no place to build a toilet, no place even to hide and poo. The solution commonly used there is called "flying toilet". poo in plastic bag and through it (fly-it) where ever.
Now PeepPoo has introduced biodegradable plastic bags containing not a perfume but a form of nitrogen (UREA) that helps to destroy the pathogens contained in poo and speed-up the decomposition process. The bags are sold and when returned back full for proper decomposing and disposal some money is returned or one can buy the next bag cheaper.
Its not everywhere that much space as around Djenne ... and the reality there - whats floating in the waters where people wash and drink from ... is simply speaking dangerous!
You might want to check the links – and if you want more information on sanitation that is still a big problem in the world - or download information form Greetings from Austria.

6:16 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Mzungu,
yes,I thought I would get some explanation finally from somewhere! Thank you for clearing it up- at least partially.This sounds good and helpful of course.
I still think that it is a real shame that a problem like this should have to be solved by something alien to Africa, and imported though. An initiative like this costs a lot to get off the ground. How many toilets could they have built with the money in the Nairobi slums? And not necessarily the flushing type..?

11:09 PM  
Blogger Mzungu said...

Hej Toubab,
by the way mzungu in east africa is used the same way as toubab in west africa :-)
Tja- there are 2,6 billion! people in the world that have no toilet. I have been working in sanitation for over 15 years in east africa and can tell u its not easy. You can build toilets but people might decide not to use them as women and men can not use the same toilet. In some cultures a pregnant women can not use a toilet at all ... and many more such silly reasons. There are many organizations and institutions trying to find a solution and all are welcomed to contribute to make a step forward. You too - are invited to produce ideas and help to remove this problem. But you will find people have other problems also to solve and a toilet has not a high priority if a child is sick and needs medicines. So far i think without enforcement of the laws that exist in every state it will not be possible to solve the problem - exact as it was in our own countries. In Sweden or in Austria you just MUST have a toilet that works according to the technical standards and the law. Otherwise your house will be closed off as you are a heath danger to the neighbors and the people down steams.

8:03 PM  

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