Saturday, September 24, 2016
I'M No Land Or Latrine Squatter
The men and women who do government PR work are very astute, smart and clever people. When policies that are likely to be controversial or cause a public outcry are set to be announced, they pray that something big happens - something that can deflect attention away from the policy. While morbid, the ultimate time for PR Man to roll off a controversial policy, is the death of a Pope. Nothing beats that. Right now, PR Man couldn't have been more happier with the Brad Pitt/Angelina divorce as all the tabloids are firmly focused on that saga.
However in Australia, PR Man didn't have the time to wait for the Pope to die or for Angelina to turf out Brad and call the FBI in on him, so he went in for the next best possible distraction - when the world was focused on the XXXI Summer Olympics in Rio, to roll off a controversial policy that would affect the toilet habits of Immigrant – especially those who work in the tax office.
And PR Man went a step further. He bit his lip until Usain Bolt was bolting away to his third consecutive gold medal when he knew it was absolutely safe and issued a press release that, the tax office had installed squat toilets for its increasingly diverse workforce “because more than one in five staff now come from a non-English speaking background.” They were forced to install them because Immigrant, has a habit of climbing on the seat of a sit down toilet and squatting to do business. And in Australian, its just not the done thing.
I am no squatter – on land or on the toilet. I don’t like it and it’s something I will never be comfortable with. As kids, I would rue the days when we were packed off to kyalo because Grandmothers house didn’t have an indoor flush toilet. A week before the trip, I would camp on the toilet at home in Muyenga getting rid of waste. Even when I didn’t have waste to get rid of, I would still spend time on the toilet forcing life.
In kyalo and despite Grandmother rolling out tons of food like she had been tasked to feed a capacity filled Namboole Stadium, I hardly ate – or drank to avoid having to visit the pit latrine. At times I would be in so much pain, but I would hold ‘it’ all in and wait till we got back to Muyenga.
My beef with having to squat is that I have never been good at being able to balance myself on the front of my feet as shown below. Squatting requires acrobatic stealth which I don't have. I need something to hold onto, something to steady myself with. But often, the walls are out of reach.
One thing about squat flush toilets like the ones installed in Australia, is that they are so deafeningly loud when you flush. There is a force, a gusto and anger at which the water comes gushing out of the cistern compared to the sedateness of a sit down toilet.
The squat toilets that have been installed in the tax office (Below), have been fabricated from one piece of 18 gauge, type 304 stainless steel with exposed surfaces polished to satin finish. But even better, the squat measurers 3/4” in length and width and that is more than enough space to get everything into the pan – don’t you think?
The last time I had to squat, was years ago in Kyankwanzi. I tried to follow the same principals I had when I used to go to kyalo, but this time, I was unable to hold everything in till I got back home. I had to go.
But this is what I don’t get. Pit Latrine Architect decided that unlike the flush squat which measurers 3/4”, the deposit hole to the pit latrine (Below) will be the size of a brick – a partly 230mm/110mm and that folks, is almost as hard as trying to get a shoe lace into the eye of a sewing needle.
The foray to Kyankwanzi's pit latrines (Below) was a disaster. The GPS on my butt must have been faulty for my ‘deposit’ was not made into the 30mm/110m hole but to the side of it. To solve the problem, I used my UPDF issued gumboots to scrape the ‘deposit’ into the hole then walked down to river Mayanja where I let the very fast current – almost as fast as that of a squat flush toilet wash over them.
Pictures: New Vision, Daily Monitor
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