Nevispages Weekly Feature by Curtis Morton
The way I see it, health and healthy habits are not only a necessity for a happy and enjoyable life, but just a logical way to exist if you are half decent.
So, things like washing your hands before eating; or washing your hands after completing some work; or making up your bed; washing up the dishes; sweeping and mopping the floors; getting rid of the garbage “IN A SANITARY” manner and things of that nature.
However, one of the most fundamental of requirements and something we absolutely cannot avoid is that we have to number one and number two – URINATE and DEFECATE, if you will permit me to use two big words I picked up in school.
Well I newa!
Back in the day, as a youthful Public Health Inspector, I had the task of educating people within certain areas on the importance of having a SANITARY pit latrine, as in most cases, they could not afford the luxury of a flush toilet.
I think that I mentioned sometime previously, these two classic incidents:
Incident number one: There was a particular household that had four or five young ladies in the family – good looking too. When I visited the home, I was shocked to discover that mother, father and all these beautiful girls, all went into the nearby bushes to make the regular ‘deposits’ – no toilet.
The wife told me that she ‘tired talk’ to her husband but he was not bothering with her.
Well, I spoke to the husband and he was very blunt and abrasive. He literally told me to mind my own business and keep out of his family business.
As I later contemplated the matter, back at the office, I thought that I would have to involve the law, but I really did not want to.
To my shock, two weeks did not pass, before I got a message that the man was at the office looking for me. I thought for one instance that he had come into town, to make bacchanal in front of my boss, about me harassing him to get a toilet for his family.
This time, when I spoke to him, he was quite subdued and ‘converted.’ What had made the drastic change?
He related the story:
There was a young man who lived next door, who was always troubling his daughters, but they would not take him on. Sometime during the course of the week, the guy cooped one of his daughters when she went into the bushes and as she removed her underwear, he made his move. Fortunately, she was able to run away screaming, leaving her underwear behind.
Sufficing to say, within a week, he had completed building a proper pit latrine in his yard. Not long after that, the family did additions to the house and of course got flush toilets (plural).
This was a man, his wife, a teenage daughter and two younger sons. Same sad case – no toilet. Same scenario – using the bushes and the man not bothering with his pleading wife.
When I spoke to him, he was quite affable but he said he did not have the money and that food, clothing and shelter, were more of a priority. I almost gave up but then something occurred to me. I turned back and I said: ‘If you don’t care to do it for you, please do it for your daughter.’ Then I told him the story about the family with the girls in the other village.
Surprisingly, he said ‘thank you’ and within a two-week period, the latrine was built.
The wife met me and thanked me so much.
Some people you just can’t reach though.
A colleague of mine in another island, told me of a classic case, when he spoke to a man who had no toilet at his home. He educated him as regards the reasons why it would be beneficial to him and the community. He was adamant. He did not NEED any. He would use a nearby wall and the bushes and he was good to go!
It got to a point that the guy was forced to write him a citation. He was given a reasonable deadline to complete it and was told that if he refused, he would be taken to court.
On the last day stipulated, the Public Health Inspector visited the home and was pleasantly surprised to see a well-constructed outdoor facility, complete with carpet on the floor and the guy had run his electrical wiring to the facility and had lights inside!
‘’Well, congratulations,’ said my friend. ‘I am impressed.’
‘Impressed? I built it so that you cannot take me to court but I am still going to use the wall and the bushes. That is what I like,’ said the man.
Well I newa!
So, why am I bringing up all of this now?
I was on a radio program earlier this week and I was told by a Public Health Official, that in Nevis, in 2019, there are still a significant number of persons, without any form of toilets whatever. I was taken aback. I almost told her that ‘she lie.’
She has however since given me some information to confirm this. Now this is appalling. Not in our Nevis-in 2019!
What is more amazing is that in one case, the officer said that the Social Services Department, volunteered to assist with getting a toilet for a particular lady, but even though she owns the house, it is on somebody else’s land. When they sought permission from the owner to build the toilet, the owner said –‘not on my land!’
Well I newa!
This is my recommendation: Let us seek out such situations within our various communities and let us make a concerted effort to help those persons in need to get such situations corrected urgently.
I am going to start my checks in the nicest village in Nevis – Hull Ground.
You check yours. Let’s get the names and let us see how we can pool our resources together, to help these people. God would require that much of us.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?