In this 21st-century and postmodern era, it is unbelievable to still see the medieval times very much prevalent in Africa. Latrines as toilets or defecation rooms (restrooms in developed countries) are very common scenes in some rural areas and cities of Africa.
Let’s dwell less about the “modern civilization” in the magnificent areas of African countries and cities (Lekki Peninsula, Banana Island, VGC-Victoria Garden City, etc.) where modern structures and edifices are built with contemporary toilet fixtures. Africa is still a thicket and in a moral wilderness. In these days and age, Africa is nevertheless a continent bedeviled with so many evils and self-inflicted problems. It’s foolhardy to defend the African stakeholders about the precarious lifestyle of the rural and city dwellers. It’s unfathomable!
On my last trip to Nigeria, we were traveling from Lagos to Ibadan. I had diarrhea and was (really) pressed to go to the nonexistent toilet. We had to stop by the bush side for me to defecate. So many thoughts (like being suddenly bitten by snakes or crawling dangerous creatures) were going through my indignant mind as I involuntarily squatted to release the inevitable “bombs” from my beleaguered bowel. After my bowel movement ordeals and defecation, there was no water to clean up, I had to use luxuriously green leaves to “clean” myself. With sadness, my mind traveled to my place of residence and privileged country–the United States of America where the word “Latrine” is unheard of or nonexistent. I wept for my rooted country–Nigeria and was lost in the forests of ignorant leaders.
For decades, at schools and homes, every person of my age (50+) in our rustic villages and cities has used latrines as a means of defecation or answering the calls of nature. Good hygiene most especially in rural areas and cities is practically inaccessible to chunks of pauperized citizens in Africa. The use of the latrines has been one of the serious health conditions and problems in Africa. How the contemporary women of my age and the current generation of girls survive the use of Latrines is beyond my rueful imagination!
Without equivocation and expensive dreams, if I become a billionaire or the President of Nigeria, I will declare a state of emergency on “Latrines and Health Administration.” I will ambitiously use my power and position to build modern toilets in every interstate road and rural area in the geopolitical zones of Nigeria. In a nutshell, does it mean that HOPE seems lost to redeem a continent in search of good and moral leadership in my generation? This is a million-dollar question begging for a non-existent answer, at least, for NOW! Africa is a menace to herself. We seem to be jinxed!
Yahaya Balogun wrote from Arizona, USA.