Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toilets of Rhodesia and other Number Twos of Notice: Part Five

Before I start my inane witticism regarding my experiences with Number Two, I wish to make a serious comment.
What started off as a silly and albeit childish bum’s story has (as usual), landed up with me seeking, finding and researching, the most incredibly fascinating material.
So bear with me. Along with the laughs you will learn a lot about toilets.
This YouTube is excellent and well worth the seven minutes. It depicts the problems, social and economic, of hygiene in Indian slums. I was very impressed with the many similar related films. Unquestionably, YouTube isn’t just a music and madman’s stage show, but can offer unique educational footage of just about everything – and best of all…it is free.

My son Timi, 1998, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe, on a Safari made Long-drop

So…now on with the show. 

As I was thrashing my brains all day with the next EA300 imminent assignment, my deep analis of world famous children’s literature prizes concluded that as I am not an American, the New Berry was out the question, but the Carnage award could be suspiciously mine. I only had to prove I have claimed benefits for six months or more in the UK - hence my enthusiasm to keep writing (about) crap.
I case you don’t remember, crap is assimilated with Thomas Crapper, the man who made having a crap a popular pastime. Presumably before then we considered this a waste of time and subsequently made haste with the waste before some one got wind of it.
But…as I researched away, the origins of this amazing word that achieved being a noun and a verb (officially) and orfically a lot more, is still controversial. All besides the porcelain point, because this next episode is dedicated to the ‘Long-Drop’.

A quick Google of Long-Drop reveals many links about hanging (as in with a rope around your neck). Why any one would be hanged or want to be hanged in a toilet is beyond me, for in mine and fellow Rhodesians terminology, a ‘Long-Drop’ is a rural toilet.
Also known as a pit-potty or pooing pitifully, the idea is simple – dig a hole and shit in it. The deeper the hole, the more dung can be flung down it and hence making the drop very long. Long-drops don’t have to be in the earth. The longest in use at the moment is on the International Space Station. Thankfully, by the time the stuff reaches rock bottom, it usually went through some Mid-West, Bible bashing American’s house roof. Good shot Comrade Ruskie!
Whilst the principle of a Long-Drop is rather simple, the technological advances surrounding what is basically a shit filled hole, is astounding. Even more astounding is what most of us would consider common sense, which simply either never occurred to the rural population of the majority of the developing world, or…more likely - simply couldn’t be arsed, because what was the point of having one – there is plenty of space in the bush.
I was trying to recall in all the time visiting kraals in Rhodesia if I ever caught a whiff off a Long-drop. Nope. Laterally surfing I came across this –
‘There were no toilets. We used secluded areas in the bushes and also used tree leaves and grass to wipe our bottoms.’
This was part of a story entitled: Escaped from Rhodesia’s Racial Discrimination, by a black, 56 year old Rhodesian-British lady called Thokozani, and was posted on the BBC web site My Story on 05/01/2010
Now, I admit, my immediate reaction after reading the title and speed reading to the sentence regarding her toilet practice, I bristled, thinking, ‘so, presumably, this is the racial Whiteman’s fault’, but, I read it again and again. It is a fabulous account of life in Rhodesia for a black rural child. It is told simply and with unbelievable honesty.
Read this carefully, for the Blackman is equally condemned for their abuse of power.

To be continued

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