Monday, December 6, 2010

A Little Wee Time

One of things I was most excited about when I moved into my current house in Uganda is that it has a flushing toilet. I know this sounds like a pretty basic requirement, but I have previously lived in a mud hut with a long drop toilet situated (thankfully) a short distance away. Believe me that when you are feeling ill a long drop does absolute nothing to make you feel any better, especially when you have malaria and your insides are churning away.  Of course there are benefits, if you live somewhere that doesn’t have running water a flush toilet is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. Even living in the town like we do, cut offs in water are pretty frequent and there are some days when you think that a back up long drop might not be quite such a bad idea after all.

There’s also the fact that our toilet is outside. It’s not situated at the bottom of the garden, before you start imagining a British house circa 1940, but it does require leaving the warmth of inside and padding across the veranda. Thankfully the veranda is covered so even during storms you only get a little bit wet, but your feet do feel jolly chilly when you jump back into bed again at night.

Picture courtesy of Crystal Luxmore
 Still despite the little foibles that come with having an outdoor flush toilet there are several plus points. Firstly, the odour issue. Having your toilet outside essentially eliminates lingering whiffs and pongs. As soon as you have flushed, no trace remains, even for those with the strongest of olfactory senses. Secondly, noise. Gone is the need to make polite conversation while great uncle Wilfred is destroying the bowl. Inside the house you’re safely cocooned from overhearing noises you’d perhaps rather not and inside the toilet there’s no fear of ‘stage fright’. Perhaps most persuasive though is the view. OK, so in the day the view is pretty bland, a wall with some trees behind it. But at night it’s a whole other story. At night I can sit on the toilet and see the Milky Way, while I wee I can watch pink streaks of forked lightning highlighting the storm clouds or if I'm lucky catch a shooting star as it streaks across the sky.

Yeah, an indoor flushing toilet is a luxury, but my outdoor one is an experience.

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