New toilets for Kenyan schools
Toilets! Latrines! Bathrooms ! Whatever you call them, they are a necessary part of every school system. Certainly, our students on PEI never give them much thought, other than to use when necessary or as an excuse to slip outside the classroom awhile. Without exception, on PEI, school bathrooms are clean, safe and meet all your requirements; clean ceramic bowls or urinals, paper, soap and water or perhaps just a nice private place to linger with friends or hide out for a while. There is seldom, if ever, a wait to use one of many available bathroom stalls on each level of the school. The air is fresh, lots of water provides a thorough, clean flush after each use, light shines through the windows and from overhead lighting, there are sinks with running hot and cold water, and of course, mirrors to check your hair & make-up. All considered basic necessities for the average student on PEI.
Over the past year or two though, students at schools who are twinned with schools in Kenya have had reason to re-think their ideas about toilets. Imagine their surprise when some twin schools listed new latrines as their top priority need. It took a while for Island students to realize that if they were a student in Kenya, they could be sharing one or two wooden outdoor stalls with 500 or more students. It would consist of a pit dug into the ground, a cement block poured to accommodate a safe place to stand while you completed your business and of course four wooden walls, a door and tin roof. Cracks in the walls allowed for light, rain, wind and sometimes lack of privacy. In some cases, heavy rains eroded the clay around the pits to make them unsafe to use. As for line ups, Rujuu School reported that in 2011 they had a severe shortage of toilets and witnessed long line ups of girls during break time due to a ration of one toilet for every 36 girls!
So, what did Island students do about it? Well, once the twin schools became aware of the needs, they got busy fundraising and in 2012, South Shore West United Sunday School sent $4869 to Marinya-a-Rubi Primary School, Miscouche Consolidated School sent $1945. to Kieni-Kia-Ndege Primary School, Morell Consolidated sent $1000 to Tambaya Prinmary School, and Rujju School with the long lineups? They received $1492 from South Shore United Sunday School. All of these funds were spent on building new toilets; nice , new, clean, safe toilets. The Kenyan schools are very proud of their new facilities and Farmers Helping Farmers is even prouder of the Island students who have responded to the needs of their friends. Who would ever think that toilets could make you so very proud!
( Tambaya's toilet is still under construction, no picture available yet!)