Thursday, March 04, 2010

Boarding School Zimbabwe Corporal Punishment

I laughed my head off watching this. It made me feel so homesick!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

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

Today we look at toilets at the extreme opposite sides of the spectrum. Before I start, I wish to say that the recent documentary/report from Zimbabwe on BBC 4 this week called Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children, upset me.
The whole film was harrowing, but the section on toilets and the flowing sewers was stomach churning, and me thinks of the previous posting but… these were people who couldn’t scratch two US dollars together for their kids school term, so are hardly in any position to afford even a bag of cement. They are lucky if they find anything to eat! A scandal…this is the same week that Mugabe’s party, ZANU (PF), blew anything between 100k and 500k US, on his birthday bash. Champagne, lobsters - the works. I don’t even have to give you links. It is all up ‘there’.

I came across this Times article - What are the toilets like at your child's school?,
that made me think of the school toilets at Allan Wilson Technical High School (Salisbury, Rhodesia), in 1971-2, whilst I was there. I never used them. They had no seat or door.
Poor us!

So… after that little diversion, lets get back to basics.


These photos are from a friend of mine that recently went to the Land of the Sitting Bum. The sophistication and technologies involved in possessing a hole for defecating in, is linked to the income. The more you earn, the more it costs to empty yourself of digestive leftovers.

This model is from a standard 5 star hotel. It is rather bog standard. The up-market models have music channels to cover up any sounds associated. This is a good idea in a land with walls paper thin. In the UK, the acoustics are almost as bad - but no one gives a shit.


As you can see, a westerner doesn’t need to take a book or magazine into the toilet to pass away the time, for you will be engrossed in reading the instructions. (Yes, we all know about the childish joke about the man who pushed the ‘Tampon Remover’ button by mistake and became nut-less.)

But this is not the ultimate in space-age toilets, because that one is in space. There, a dump runs into millions of dollars.

So…what is the ultimate opposite? You may think that simply having a crap among the other fermenting turds on the fringe of a motorway rest stop (obviously without WC facilities, or if they had them, they were filthy), could be as low as it gets. Human wise?  Perhaps. However; what if I was to tell you - that nature created the first 100% efficient recycling toilet?

I came across this and thought it so cool, I have put it up in its entirety. 

The Shrew loo: The rare jungle plant that recycles droppings

By Mail On Sunday Reporter
27th February 2010

It is the ultimate in recycling. Meet Nepenthes Lowii, nature’s own lavatory.
This is the first time the plant has been captured on camera being used by the mountain tree shrew – animals that rely on the plant both for nourishment and as its very own lavatory.
The plant, which is found in Borneo, is the only one in the world that collects the droppings of animals and uses them to produce a sugary substance, which the shrew then eats.

It is definitely a win-win situation for all parties involved.
The plant collects the droppings from the shrew as well as from a variety of birds.
The squirrel-like creature lives in the mountains of northern Borneo, where it is attracted to the moist, mossy conditions which the Nepenthes Lowii thrives under.
The sap from the plant has a ‘slightly disagreeable odour’ but it is the sweet taste that attracts the shrew. While it’s a great example of recycling, it’s unlikely to go down well with humans.
The position of the substance on the permanently-opened lid of the plant makes it the perfect position for the shrew to perch.
The plant starts its life as a meat-eating vine but leaves this carnivorous existence behind as it matures and develops a penchant for animal droppings.
Its self-sufficiency means it thrives in a habitat known to be poor in nutrients, making it one of nature’s best recycling machines while providing everything the mountain shrew needs.

It’s a lesson that could be learned by a nation that’s certainly lagging far behind in the recycling stakes.