Léogâne

So I’ve arrived in Léogâne and have been settling in to my new life. The house I’m living in also doubles as my office so my commute is nice and short. But I’ll also spend a large chunk of my time in the mountains where I will oversee a latrine building project. On days when I work in the mountains I’ll be driven to the base of the mountain. Once the car cannot go any further I’ll hike the rest of the way to reach the mountain villages. 

I will not go to the mountain villages for the next few days so I wanted to start by showing where I live. I live in a large villa-style building spread over two floors. It currently has 7 expatriate staff living here but there is room for much more. The bedrooms are a mixture of twin rooms and larger dorm rooms. Most of the expat staff live in the smaller rooms and the dorm rooms are for groups who come to visit from time to time.

Blog6

I live in a twin room on the ground floor, which I share with another intern. This is my bed along with my mosquito net which I sleep under every night. It’s pretty warm to sleep under but worth it because it protects me from malaria. I also put some pictures up of family and friends to decorate.

Blog 1

I store all my belongings in this wicker shelving unit. These are used all around the building for storing cutlery, plates and food.

Blog2

This is painted on the wall facing my bed, it was painted by another intern. It helps to brighten up the place. Also pictured is the fan which I use during the night to cool down.

Blog10

Above is the bathroom, it’s pretty standard. We just have to be careful with the plumbing and sometimes the water can switch off.

Blog7

This is the kitchen where our cook Jolina prepares breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is usually a roll and egg with some fruit and dinner consists of spaghetti, rice or potatoes with vegetables. In the evenings we reheat food and on the weekends we cook our own food.

Blog9

The office. I do not have a permanent desk yet so I share the wooden desk at the back of the room.

Blog8

Our garden, with the generator pictured in the back.

Blog5

This is one of the seating areas on the first floor.

Blog4

Above and below are pictures of our balcony where we eat lunch. It’s a nice place to sit but usually the weather is too warm during the day to sit for too long.

Blog3

Advertisements

Would you use a public toilet in a developing country?

Would you use one in a developed country?

Perceptions of public toilets are not positive, to say the least. And in day to day life, going from home to work and out to socialise, many people can avoid using one. But what if that was not an option.

Many people in developing countries work away from home, often outwith a building with toilet facilities. So using a public toilet can be their only option. But maintaining a network of public toilets in large cities is difficult and poor maintenance of facilities means it can quickly become too damaged or dirty to use.

So what is the solution?

Eram Scientific Solutions, an Indian company, think they have found the answer. They created the Delight toilet which flushes automatically after use and uses motion sensors to operate the fan and lighting by detecting when a user enters. Each toilet is also monitored remotely by public agencies who can check if water and power is available and who can be contacted by users with a complaint.

While a well engineered piece of technology can appear to solve issues neatly, it is still vital to ask how will this technology continue to serve users long after it has been built. In other words, how sustainable is it? The Delight public toilet charges fees to users (ranging between 1 to 5 rupees) and uses the 200 square feet of available surface as advertising space.  The combination of both of these should pay for the units upkeep according to the creators.

They have installed 400 in Delhi, Kozhikode and Kerala state with plans for another 10000. They have also developed designs aimed at women and a school model.

So if you visit or live in India, tell me if you have seen these in action. Do they work? Are advertisers willing to advertise their products on toilets?