Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Loo ... without a view!

A couple of years ago, John and I traveled to New Zealand and hiked the Milford Trek on the southern island.  At one point, the trail took us over a high mountain pass where there was a pit toilet perched near the edge of the pass with its doorway facing back down the valley.  The scenery is breath-taking and that particular toilet is known as the “loo with a view”.  Hikers line up to use the toilet and take a picture of the view while seated on the toilet (yep, I did that, too).  I think of that particular toilet/loo often as I see the many outdoor toilets that dot the yards all around our neighborhood in SA. Unfortunately, none of the ones I’ve come across here in SA thus far have a view worthy of discussion.  Having used various ones at friends, neighbors, and schools here in our village, I am happy to say that the outdoor toilets at both of the houses where we have stayed have been among the best.  This is based on size of structure, cleanliness, toilet seat, and odor.

In our current house, there is actually an indoor toilet, but since running water is not available during the day, we use the outdoor toilet during the day hours and the indoor toilet at night when supposedly the water is “on.”  One nice thing about having only an outdoor toilet (staying positive and looking for the good in things is important here!) is when I would go outside at night to visit the loo, I was always in awe of the big sky, which has been clear and bright and filled with a billion stars!

While on the topic of toilets, it is true that PCVs can commonly be seen during or between classes with a roll of toilet paper under the arm or a wad of toilet paper in their pocket.  I read somewhere before we left the states, that this was one of the identifiers of a PCV… how true! One learns quickly that toilet paper may not be available at any toilet (particularly at the schools we visit), so being “prepared” is for most of us a one-trial-learning-experience.  I never leave home without some toilet paper in my pocket!

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