Monday, April 1, 2013

The Luxury of a Latrine

How often have you stopped to be thankful for your toilet?

I found an article published last April in one of the newspapers here that gave some grim statistics about sanitation in Uganda.

Uganda needs 650,000 more latrines to ensure that every Ugandan has access to a latrine.

Currently, at least 3.2 million Ugandans have no latrines at all and their place of convenience is the open space, according to the latest Work Bank report.

The report indicates that another 13.8 million Ugandans use unsanitary or share latrines. This poor sanitation is costing the country at least 389bn Ugandan shillings ($150 million) annually.

These statistics took on a human face this past weekend. Thanks to a generous donation we received, we have been able to begin work to reduce that staggering number to 649,999.

We started a latrine building project with the David Family group that we are associated with at New Hope. The grandmother (jajja) of one of the children in the David Family (Nabukeera) has not had a latrine and has no means to provide one for herself – it has been a project that has been awaiting funding for some time.

(Nabukeera with her camera-shy Jajja.)
In addition to providing a much needed latrine, we also wanted to get the David Family children who at New Hope are comparatively so blessed to give back into their community by being involved in the work. Their help included the preparation, building, mixing cement and concrete, cooking and most importantly – fetching water from the nearest borehole which is about 750 meters away.

Prior to Friday we paid to have a local man dig the latrine pit – it is a 5 foot by 2 foot hole that is about 28 feet deep, dug by hand and emptied by bucket. It took four days to complete it.

On Friday we prepared the ground and made a foundation of bricks. We are being guided by Brian who is one of the construction foremen at New Hope.

On Saturday we had more of the Family Group with us for the heavy work of forming and pouring an 8x5 slab as the floor of the latrine.


One of the young adults in the Special Needs program is Kakande – he has lots of challenges but cheerfully works very hard and is a great example to the other boys in the family group. Kakande’s story is one of abandonment, mistreatment and abuse over the years. When we went to New Hope in earlier years he was still staying outside of New Hope and subject to some ongoing abuse. He was brought into New Hope to stay and be full time part of the Special Needs program and what a huge difference we have seen in his life! The Lord has indeed been gracious to Kakande and taught us in the David Family much through him. He worked so hard that day!

Next weekend we are planning to build the toilet closet on one side of the slab and an adjoining bathing closet on the other side. Since the rainy season seems to be really starting now (it has rained almost all day today!) we will hopefully get a dry day to continue on Saturday.

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