During my exciting trips to Africa so far, I've stumbled across so many different types of toilets there. You're never quite sure what lurtks behind that cublicle door. Hopefully this blog will lessen the surprise and help you learn how to deal with them if you are lucky enough to encounter any...
For obvious reasons I haven't included photos with this blog, but stay tuned for part two later as there are more toilet types coming! I didn't want to overload you with them all at once...
The authentic African toilet – 'the squatter'
The first time you walk into a squat toilet you’re like ‘hey, where’s the loo at?’ then you look down and your heart sinks. Shite. OK here we go. The first time you use a squat toilet, it’s inevitable you’ll probably end up peeing on your shoes ladies. Guys, there’s no excuse I’m afraid.
If you feel more comfortable taking everything off from the waist down, go with it. Make it your own. After a few times, you’ll get the hang of it, a few months later you should have the thighs of a baby giraffe so stick with it. These toilets are NOT fun if you have Typhoid or any kind of dickytummybug. They’ll make you howl with homesickness.
These are like the squats but a more up to date version. Slightly. They’re called 101s because there are actual footholes with grips either side of the hole, so from above it looks like ‘101’. Nothing more technical I promise. Not only will your thighs thank you in a few months’ time, but you also get the ‘pleasure’ of seeing your ‘waste’ right there in the bowl under you if you dare look down. You get a nice hose to wash everything away – see ya!
To put a positive spin on it, I actually felt very in tune with my body using these for a while as you kind of see how healthy everything is or isn’t (I won’t go into more detail than that I think…)
The flushing 101
An even more up to date version of the squat, it’s just like a real toilet but not. It’s a 101 with a magical invention – the flush! You can weep with relief at seeing a flush! Have the toilet paper nearby, you don’t want to get in to a situation where you have to reach and lose your balance…
The Pig Pen
Literally my lowest moment in life so far. On the bus back to Kampala in Uganda, the bus pulled in to a petrol station and the driver signalled that we had ten minutes to do our business (i.e. pee and buy crisps) then back on the bus.
I followed everyone else around the back of the petrol station and the women seemed to be using what looked like an open pig pen with a drain in the middle to pee in. Hmm. Ok. They had lovely long skirts on, I had shorts on. What’s more, a lot of these women seemed quite interested in what a Westerners ass looked like and were openly staring without shame. Oh my shame. I REALLY had to pee and it was one of those moments that make you want to book a package holiday but when a girl’s gotta go, she’s gotta go.
The roadside bush toilet
Probably my favourite of the bunch, you know where you stand with this. Get off the vehicle, find a bush, pray to God there’s nothing lurking behind it and do your stuff. This works until you need the toilet in the middle of Serengeti…
Part two is right here, ready to learn even more?