World Toilet

Thank you BBC for these photos. My other favourite topic of all time – toilet issue.

I am still hoping for a day when it will be written into Nigeria law that all houses must have a working toilet, here I am not talking about water cistern, pit outside the house with its own roof would do just fine.

I remember my friend and I wanted a room at Garage Olode, Osun State a while ago. We were so excited to be away from home for the first time. When we finally found a room to rent, the first thing we really cared about was the house to have a toilet. When asked our landlord if there was a toilet in his house. Alhaji said to us “Ga? You can do ga anywhere!” With Kemi and I totally mesmerised with Alhaji’s animation pointing to everywhere around the house as potential toilets we could use. We took the house for ₦20/month. Kemi and I spent much of the afternoon just laughing about our experience with Alhaji mostly because the old man gave no qualm about it.

Kemi and I had plenty of years’ of ‘shut put’ experience, we just wanted something different especially that we were renting away from home. Oh well, we gave in thinking w’ll survive – we always do. Needless to say Alhaji’s name to us remained ‘Baba Ga’ till today.

The first in these BBC photos  is what I hope rural Nigeria could adopt, community toilets for those who can not afford to have one in their house. Pay a small fee for usage,  it is well worth it for us all.

The second photo reminds me of a house my family lived in the late 1980’s, faeces thrown into a swampy area (akuro)on one side and on the opposite side were women working on their vegetable lots (akuro). I always try not to ‘go’ during the day, amazing what human body is capable of.

The sixth photo with the Ethiopian lady shows that it is true that most African poor could not afford to dig toilet in their homes however, lack of toilet in homes now is beyond being poor alone – it has become way of life, and people have failed to see the relationship between lack of hygiene and poor health. More education in this area will do us well and of course landlords receiving rent should be made by law to provide a working toilet close enough to the property so no excuses for not using the them.

The last photo of a disabled Zambian woman is inspiring, bless her.

The toilet looked like one of my neighbours in the mid 1990’s without the lock so I’d sneaked in very early in the morning to do my business – I’ve been caught before.


9 thoughts on “World Toilet

  1. I find it hard to understand why nearly all state governors don’t rate drinking water and sanitation as a high priority. They obsess about silly schemes to have a 4 lane highway, or build a sub-standard university, or create yet another sub-standard airport.
    We expect to use proper toilets on a plane, train, office etc, why not our homes? Why do we forget about progress when return to our homes? If you know there is a better means of creating a toilet and using one, why not adopt it?
    I can’t understand in this day and age people can build houses without plumbing and sanitation, it shows just how low standards there are. This is something that no one in their right minds would want. It isn’t a matter of funds, it’s a matter of prioritisation and sensible thinking, which appears to be in short supply.

    Those pictures from the BBC had the Japanese as scrupulously clean and the Africans as the dirtiest, this is nothing to be proud of. Pride aside, it has health implications and offers a better standard of living. I sometimes scratch my head due to the way people think in Nigeria.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree, absolutely nothing to be proud of. And really this isn’t about poverty, more like misplaced priority.

      I have never had running water and I believe most people are in the same shoe. Actually sometimes early in 2014, there was a news about improved running water in my state to which I was surprised, apparently, some areas in Ede, Osogbo etc in Osun Sate do have water that runs once in a blue moon.

      Now, because of my experience with water, I think our best bet for the time being is pit toilets which can be indoors with sewer in the back or just a pit outside of the house with a roof of its own – anything is better than nothing.

      People can’t be better at sanitation in public places when home has none. As you said, not really about pride, it’s about knowing that improved sanitation will reduce doctors visits especially for young children.


      1. Folakemi, you are truly great, to be so stoic about it.
        I laughed when you said that in Ede and Osogbo running water is a rarity.
        Another thing is that if everyone resorts to digging wells willy nilly, that will mess up the water table.
        A drop in the water table means that it is harder to practice agriculture, you have to sink your wells deeper and also remove the additional salt present in the water.
        When you come to larger settlements, public water works is the most efficient and reliable way to go.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you. Really you are an inspiration, I admire you commitment to be counted as one of the voices that loved our dear country and don’t shy away from saying it as is.

          You are very right about messing up the water table if everyone digs a well, the same applies to digging up individual pit too as water can easily be contaminated.

          But seems that is the only thing working now.

          I once asked my father if he could get landlords in his area together so our little area can all joined up to dig one big borehole for everyone to use, cheaper and safer – I was told there’s no money and the same family has 4 handsets – I gave up.


          1. At least you displayed initiative, you’re thinking along the right lines.
            To my mind, water, sanitation, hygiene, and a reliable supply of electricity trump new airports, football stadiums, new cities or huge convoys of luxury cars for politicians and their associated hangers-on. These mundane things can make the world of difference and really kick start society on the road to development, but frivolity like hosting football tournaments, and meaningless international conferences only feed the ego of the political leaders.
            If we don’t raise our sites, we will be forever looking at our feet, whilst the world marches on.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. When you have access to indoor toilets and plumbing you take it for granted, unless you’re like me and anyone else who has experienced living without one. My reflections on my early childhood and growing up without an indoor toilet…. having to use the community outhouse…. still triggers the smell of the hothouse and the terror I would feel each time I used it-for fear that I would fall in and drown in poop. Please keep talking about this issue-it’s important!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mike. ‘Drown in poop’ – that’s a good one and terrifying. Imagine lots of people still feel this way?

      I have my many mind-terror about ‘shut put’ but one that was told by a friend stuck in my head. It was about a man who went to the bush for number two and a snake nibbled on his balls – This was meant to be a college joke decade ago but gave me chills for a long time am in that situation!


  3. What did I do wrong, Fola, because I can’t see any pictures?

    Very interesting essay on a very useful subject: think ebola and how it spreads!

    Water shortage, even when there are public toilets, hamper the usefulness of such in towns and big cities where they are common in market places. The ones at Mokola Market, Ibadan in SW Nigeria is a study in how not to present a public toilet to the public. You are right about fees being necessary to maintain these toilets. It’s working in the markets that I know at Akure in Ondo State.

    There are also – as in all things while the rulers keep on fattening their foreign accounts AND bellies – donor programs in many parts of Nigeria where public toilets are being built through EU/Community involvement are common. In these instances, borehole or wells are dug alongside the projects for water availability. The EU-funded programs are in not less than six states of Nigeria right now; I got to know because through somebody involved.

    These are really nice and educative subjects you give us. You should be involved in social work of some sort in Nigeria!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You didn’t do anything wrong o! There are two links above to the BBC news that one needs to click for the pictures. Here is the link:

      Thanks for sharing your views. Actually in Osun State, after the Ebola scare (unfortunately reality for some) I read about my governor’s plan to build public toilets in Osogbo. I would take it a bit further to say if you can own a mobile phone, you must have a toilet in your house!

      Ha ha, you want me to be Wolewole? Tanwiji and all that comes with it LOL

      Many thanks


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