That subject is the need for at least one additional latrine for the church and orphanage.
I am quite certain that it would be no surprise to anyone that there is no septic system at the church, which doubles as an orphanage. They have one open pit toilet—what we would call an outhouse, or as we called them in New Zealand, “a long drop.”
The sudden need for a latrine was actually how I began becoming financially involved with the church in Kisii in the first place, long before they called themselves the “Log Church of Kenya.” Before that time, my relationship with the church was simply of a teaching nature. They had been using the sermons that I post on this website as part of the teachings that they used in their meetings. The pastor would often write to me about the sermons, commenting on them and how they used them in their meetings.
Then one day, after a few months of these types of letters, Pastor Joel wrote to tell me that the latrine that they had for the church suddenly collapsed, sending two of their orphans to the hospital. They needed money to build a new latrine and also to help with the hospital bills. He asked me if I could help them out. For our relationship to suddenly take on a financial aspect was a little troubling to me.
The internet being what it is, I could not help but be a little suspicious. I wrote frankly to him, telling him. However, the Lord would not allow me to let go of the matter. After several exchanges of emails, I eventually sent them some money to help pay for these expenses. I wrote about this pretty extensively about a year ago, so I will not go into detail about it again.
As a confirmation, I asked him to send me photos of the collapsed latrine, and also the reconstruction as it began to take place.
They finally were able to build a very good latrine, and when I was there, I could see that it served them very well. However, as good as it is, I know that it is very inadequate for the number of people who use it. Herein is the problem with outhouses.
I am old enough that I remember having an outhouse on the farm where I grew up, complete with the Montgomery/Ward catalogue. We also had indoor plumbing for most of my growing up years, but I also remember using the outhouse many times. We usually only used it in the summer, as I remember, since it was quite far from the house, which is better than being too close to the house.
But having an outhouse on a family farm that is used by one family is far different than a single latrine that is meant to serve fifty people or more. The main problem is hygiene.
First of all, the failure in hygiene with outhouses is that not everyone bothers to use it when they should. If a single latrine is meant to serve a very large number of people, it is easy to see that it will not always be available at any moment for anyone who might need it. Kids, being who they are, do the next best thing. Adults may also do this, of course.
When you combine this with the fact that the orphans often do not have shoes, you can see why parasites and diseases can easily spread. The kids run around bare-footed, picking up any worms or other soil-borne pathogen. This often causes diarrhea, which only exacerbates the problem.
Of the multiple difficulties that the orphanage faces, this is actually quite an important one. They mentioned it to me several times when I visited there. When good hygiene is impossible to maintain, it has a very negative and cumulative effect. One health problem causes another health problem.
I think I will need to wait a couple days to continue this series, since I cannot see how I will have time to write anything extra for a while. I need to work on my sermon for next Sunday, which actually will be centered on what I have been learning in my own life through this relationship that I have had with the Log Church of Kenya.
I also have several other things going on. Plus, it looks like I need to plow snow again this morning. The snowfall is over now, but we got an unbelievable amount. It is hard to say exactly how much since the blowing and drifting was so extreme, but it was certainly well over a foot. Some areas are reporting 20 inches or more—even close to 30inches.