Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tourism Through Toilets

Sanitation in Nigeria is a stinking problem. This has dissuaded tourists from returning after an initial visit. The multiplier effect of negative evaluation from former visitors adds to its tag as a destination to avoid. Aside from not having a comprehensive sanitation system in place, existing facilities are horrendously unsightly that one would rather hold it all back in than risk using these. If you don't pass out because of the odor, you will leave the place carrying the smell as your perfume. This is confirmed by the number of large flies that follow you around.

Nigeria is an ideal place for nature lovers and thrill seekers since entering a public toilet alone is an adventure. What with several booby traps to avoid, one has to be a contortionist to be able to complete an activity without getting anything attached to your clothing or your body. If you happen to visit a town or a village without sewers (and there are many), you'll have to keep a sharp eye on flying toilets. These are the final products of very large intestines dropped directly from plastic bags, and hurled as far away as possible from its point of origin. Getting hit by one of these is very messy indeed.

Long walks along major roadways will find many people sitting around the roadside waving as you pass by. The air just distracts the friendliness you see, only to realize that these road sitters are relieving themselves right where they are. Walking away briskly from this community activity is the thing to do; but care must be taken to look where you're going, lest you crush one of those large golden nuggets that line the road.

Wanting to attract tourists from Europe and America, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has launched a new range of public toilets to clear the air for tourists. Dubbed as "Money for Muck" it will charge US $0.16 per use and will be available in markets and transport hubs. Mobile units will be used for festivals. Each unit costs US $ 500 to construct and will employ people to manage each unit. The NTDC expects to create jobs with this project and has received hundreds of applications (21 from University Graduates) for the managerial positions available. And perhaps a free opportunity to use a real toilet for a change.

Nigeria needs to resolve many other problems if it is to attract more tourists. At least, this particular concern is taking off. However, having no experience with real toilets, someone has to give them toilet training. If not, it will create a mess out of the objective; and they can flush all of their fancy projections of jobs and revenues down that stinking toilet.



Blogtommy said...

Wow. I knew the conditions were less than ideal, but I'm guessin' the Nigerian's aren't hiring you anytime soon as a public tourism spokesman or guide ey? Yikes.


durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

I was there during the summer of 2007 and it's really deplorable.:-(

I am willing to give them a positive evaluation if this project works out fine, for free! I will even do their brochures and a video if they so desire. :-)

But I guess if they find out about this post, they will consider me persona-non-grata. --Durano, done!

The Fitness Diva said...

OMG. That's all it takes to turn me off. I already know that there are a ton of places that I won't visit because of the lack of sanitary amenities available for the masses. India is one, and places in Africa like Nigeria and a few others also make the list. Flying feces? Ayyyyyyy! And then, you have to think of the threat of diseases like AIDS, which while politely unmentioned, is a HUGE problem in that region of the world.

I'm hoping China has better provisions than that, since that is my next planned destination.

And I object to having to pay for a porta potty!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

You mentioned AIDS. It is now a disease most victims there take with resignation.

A lot of people feel so helpless and hopeless that living day to day is an excruciating and tiring experience of constant pain, misery,meaningless existence. What hope remains are in the eyes of the children, and they are the focus of all humanitarian workers.

I realize that sanitation inadequacy can turn off a lot of people, but these are just minor things the government could have solved long ago if corruption was curbed.

My post may have contributed to the unsanitary vision, but it was meant to criticize the government's ineptness. It's the people that I sympathize with, and once there, you will feel for them and their deprivation.And just wish all politicians here vanish. --Durano, done!