Archive for January, 2013

Nothing says Happy New Year like building a compost latrine! So that’s what I did.


A few volunteers and I were visiting a friend’s site to celebrate the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. For the midnight festivities we even finagled cold champagne and fresh grapes, which may not sound like much but is fairly difficult to attain in places that don’t have electricity.


The volunteer I was visiting is continuing her compost latrine project started by her previous volunteer. A compost latrine is basically a concrete box that you use to take care of business. It is different from a regular latrine in that it separates the pee and the poo. If you manage it properly, you can eventually use the poo as a compost for trees and flowers (not recommended for vegetables and root veggies for obvious reasons).  It’s a really cool technology and great for areas like mine that have a really high water table. PLUS, they don’t smell. It’s like magic!


Her community is super motivated for this project since they have been waiting so long to finally be able to build. Both volunteers have been doing such a great job educating the community that they are literally begging to work. It’s incredible. A few other volunteers came along to lend a hand and learn the mechanics of laying block (the most difficult part of the build) and building the concrete structure.


So 8am sharp on January 1st, everyone was working. It was so nice to finally construct something. I feel like this is the reason I came here. I don’t want to be an engineer that sits behind a desk and plays with AutoCAD all day. I want to actually do something. So finally getting my hands dirty was pretty much the greatest start to a new year I could ask for. 


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