Saturday, February 27, 2010

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

Greetings and good bowel movements to you all. I suppose it makes a change from the standard Vulcan ‘Live long and prosper’ that only seems to work if your name is Mugabe, turning 86, and in charge of putting an entire country down the toilet.

Now, I have some exciting news. Due to the last chapter, I was contacted by another Gokwe police officer, Senior Patrol Officer Nigel Triggs, who was with me at the time. Just as me, he was hacked off that he never took many pictures at the time. I suppose we never ‘clicked’ how historically and personally interesting they would be so many decades later.

But, sensationally, he had a few pictures of the Charama base camp. These would have been taken just prior to Gokwe Town being attacked -

On May 14 this year [1977] the terror war came to the heart of Gokwe village but only for half an hour.

‘A  large group of terrorists had a planned three-pronged attack on the Police
camp’, said Chief Inspector Harvey. ‘As one group of Terrs came in, one of our sergeants disturbed their plans.’

The Sergeant - now recovered - was shot three times before the Terrs fired
several mortars at the camp and then fled.
In the follow-up operation one terrorist was killed.

Two Water Development employees who had been camping in a tent near the main
camp when the attack on Gokwe was launched, were also shot, but not killed.

This rather bland description is from a Rhodesia Herald, Sunday edition, double page full spread, about Gokwe. The said Chief Inspector has perhaps the only copy still around and copied the entire article for me.

Former Chief Inspector Harvey with his wife, Heather, and me, North Wales, 2006

After the attack, bases that had just been sporadically used during routine police patrols, now became semi-military camps. But here are pictures from the time before the shit hit the fan…and guess what? There is one of the Long-drop. Amazingly, I managed to describe its position in the small camp at the time, almost perfectly. The tin hut you see was used to sleep in. When it rained, it rained, and you couldn’t hear yourself think. For most of my co-police officers on patrol with me, this was a god send as it meant even I had to give up chattering my inane gibberish.

I have also added a couple of views and a very interesting picture from the bottom of the escarpment where we filled huge water bowser trailers up. The camp had no running water. For the life of me, I have no idea how the water ‘arrived’ in that tank. It was all for free, not just for ‘us’, it was a major source for the local surrounding populace. (Shame the Water Development lads were also shot at!)

So before the camp became populated (even Nigel has no idea which government department actually ‘owned’ the place), the ‘whites only’ shower at the camp didn’t work, as there was no water in its tank. Hence we showered as in the picture. 

Those ancient four cylinder Landrovers took some stick, I tell you.
I was just thinking, whilst writing this…how did the water get from the bowser into ‘our’ shower tank at camp. They looked a bit like this. (This one is 250 gallons.)

Well, erm… we simply told our Black police staff to delegate who would sit at the hand pump. They in turn abused the lower ranks of African Police Reservists, whom, if they were lucky and we had arrested some naughty people (guilty or innocent), they would work for their free accommodation and food.

So, to wrap up this chapter, I would like to draw your attention to another of Robert Mugabe’s ‘evil, White racist Colonial not real Zimbabweans’ resident by the name of Peter Morgan. This amazing individual has, along with assistance from  EcoSanRes Programme - Stockholm Environment Institute, done incredible work with Long-drops.

In a book, available for free on line, he gives extraordinary details how to make compost from Long-drops. This isn’t bull-shit but basic rocket science. What goes in comes out to make what goes in. Here are just a few of the pics.

It is well worth a look at this –

Toilets That Make Compost. Low-cost, sanitary toilets that
produce valuable compost for crops in an African context.

There are building details, photos of every stage, and the end result of food growing over the ‘full’ pits.

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