Dear Nii Kpakpo,
You have no idea how long this letter has been marinating in my head. Due to the topic I have chosen for this one, the word marinating so rhymes with urinating, and on a day like this – World Toilet Day.
I hear the Bearded mayor of Hustle City has handed down an ultimatum for landlords to provide toilet facilities for their tenants. As to how that will work I wonder. I wonder because the last I heard there was an argument at a toilet forum somewhere and somebody presented that why would they bother shitting on a toilet and who the toilet gets full AMA will come with trucks to come get it, smelly as it is and go drain it into the sea via the Korle.
So why not let the people feel free to deposit the load directly at the beach so the waves can wash it away. That way it is not only convenient for everybody involved but saves the city a whole load of money.
That was a very pungent argument, Kpakpo, if you ask me.
I guess the rest of the people at the meeting could not come up eith counter arguments to that. Wonder what a counter argument will sound like. On the basis of health or what?
According to the United Nations a third of the world population have no access to portable toilet facilities. I did the math Kpakpo and if the world population is seven billion, then a whole lot of people are shitting free range or paying for it.
That makes it a very viable business generating lots of cash especially in these our parts. So I got a friend of a friend whose uncle runs a toilet in Maamobi to give me the rundown on the culture of shitting in Ghana. Let me just shock you with some details.
Every morning, and evening on a constant, you get over 500 people coming to shit at Gh50p. This is the morning and evening constant crowd discounting those who will keep coming with a running tummy. Mind you there is no discount. That is a thousand times 50p daily at least. Now multiply that by 30days in the month.
Now he also talked about expenses – paying of on site manager, more like a supervisor, cleanup staff and cost of ‘pulling’ shit when it’s full amongst other petty costs such as buying water, etc.
Nii Kpakpo, I am no maths whiz but this guy said the business makes as much as a cool thousand Ghana Cedis a month. Remember that in this business you can’t have bad days because no matter what people will shit. It’s the call of nature they can’t swerve.
Kpakpo, now after this education you see how much sense it makes when we heard news of party faithful going round in the various regions seizing keys to the Ghana @ 50 community toilets . I didn’t understand it at first till I had this 30minute insight I just shared with you.
Back to the matter Papa Nii, so there are a lot of people paying for the privilege to shit, an act we do every time we feel like, with impunity. So you will understand my Facebook status on the morning of Toilet Day when I say ‘ if you are on a water closet shitting today say a prayer to thank God for the blessing because a third of the world does not have this same privilege.’
Interestingly I typed that status whilst sitting on my loo.
Whoever thought it was going to be a very interesting day for me. If anybody had told me that I was going to find myself a victim of up availability of toilets, I would have called the person a doomsayer and accused them of plainly hating me.
I was in perfect health and conditions when I left home for work that morning. Usually I take my time on the loo because it’s where I get my brightest thoughts. On this day however your sister had interrupted me because she wanted to use the facility. She had not been feeling too well in the past few days. So I had to truncate my action and let have her way.
Some sacrifices we make without knowing how much it costs us. Maybe this doesn’t fall under the #NunooSaint range of sacrifices but it’s a sacrifice all the same.
Well I got off the porcelain comforts only for her to tell me I hadn’t gotten off early enough so she didn’t feel like it anymore. Wow! What the heck!
So I went to work with half my load still inside me. It was all fine until I was thirsty and i went to drink some unfamiliar ‘pure water’. That was my doom.
Just when the last drop of water hit my tummy there was a rumbling like a MaCarthy Hill tremor. I knew I was secure so paid no heed to it.
Kpakpo, if you have read Race Against A Shitty TummyRace Against A Shitty Tummy you will realize that this was a dire situation and I couldn’t go through another race. I was bound to lose. I was lucky the first time and it is an ordeal I won’t wish on my worst enemy.
My office is located where there is no designated toilet for miles around. It’s a village where free range is the common practice. The people form a bulk statistic of people without the comfort of portable toilets. Not even the government offices in the location. Interestingly I haven’t checked the chief’s house to see how he goes about his business. Lol
In essence, Folk just do their business in the open air and the sun literally takes care of the shit.
So to forestall any inconvenience I made arrangements in the middle of the day to be dropped off halfway home so I could sort myself out. But alas it was not to be.
Halfway to the designated location, I couldn’t take it anymore and I had my driver stop at the entrance of the nearest forest reserve and just found the quickest and nearest free zone to squat. Hey, there was ample evidence that others have been there before me but that is the beauty of free range in the savannah. With a lot of space and land mass, there is enough room for everybody and with the heat of the sun, your load is dry by the end if the day leaving no traces of anyone ever being there in the first place.
Kpakpo, truth be told I hadn’t done this in quite some time so quite difficult to settle especially straddling my laptop on my shoulder. Then I reminded myself this is the savannah and nobody will even bother looking twice to see who’s there in the bush or try to rob you of any valuables. That brought a smile on my face with the differences that exist between the living conditions of the capital city and the savannah.
The skills I had honed in the past from attending to nature’s call at ‘Airport’ both in Adisco and up on the hills of Vandal were all brought to bear in my few minutes of transition from discomfort to comfort. You have to be very careful not to get any if the brown liquid or solid (depending on the state of your tummy) into your clothes else you will have flies making you a social outcast quicker than you can say shit.
I was in there for only a few minutes Kpakpo when it dawned on me that today of all days, on World Toilet Day I had become a statistic and felt what a third minority of the world had to go through since they didn’t have portable toilets. Interesting indeed!
Kpakpo I had predictably lost the race this time. I didn’t even try to run its full course cos I knew I wouldn’t get home. Surprisingly it didn’t feel embarrassing one bit. I had made the right decision to save face and I didn’t feel like everybody was watching me that I had walked out of a forest reserve which obviously indicated what I had gone there to do. Nobody seemed to care.
Even though I will get home and use the potty twice more and later on I will again use the open air facility in a different location, the world toilet day was spent aptly I will say shitting.
Kpakpo, what else was a day like that meant for? I can confidently say that I’m looking forward to the next world toilet day so I can compare if it will be as much discomfort as this year was.
So Kpakpo, that was how I spent my World Toilet Day – shitting!.
What did you do! I’m sure you used your radio program to educate folk on the importance do shitting.
Well I learnt my lessons and I sure am not getting off the potty for nothing till I’m done with offloading.
Furthermore, every time I sit on the ceramic throne, I will say a prayer of thanks to the Almighty God for such a blessing.
In ALL THINGS give thanks – even shitting!
Till I write again, you take care suh.
Your Cousin in law