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  • Jennifer Mueller

My trip to Ghana or everything you wanted to know about composting toilets.

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So I'm back, and having picked up something on the plane home almost back to normal now so its time to finally update the trip I took. The purpose was to build a composting toilet for the Axim Catholic JHS. Composting toilets have started to become a popular way to build toilets without a water supply. Ours in this case was built to accommodate 350 students about double what the school currently has enrolled so that it can grow over time. 8 stalls and a male and female urinal with a separate space for the girls during that time allowing them to clean up in private.

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The school buildings.

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The students.

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The blessing of the site and first shovel full. Once the proprieties were over the engineering half of the team got to work with the construction.

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Setting the profile and construction area.

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With the soil removed the building could start. In the background is the current toilet facility for 170 students along with a urinal on the other side of the compound.

By the time we left they were just ready to pour the slab and we got pictures yesterday of their progress.

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Shown are the 16 chambers that will hold the waste solids for a year to compost them. Above that will be the 8 stalls. One chamber will be in use and when full the second will then be used until the first is finished composting. If the school grows it can be removed sooner and allowed to finish composting in an off site spot.

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While the engineer was busy with that, I was working with the school to make lesson plans on how to teach how these work since they are a new technology. Some students volunteered to help draw posters showing how the toilets work, the proper way to wash hands since this plan provides tanks filled with rain water from the roof to allow easy washing at last.

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Since their school garden was laying fallow I also helped build a small raised bed to hopefully get them back into it after the last harvest was stolen while they were on break. A man on national service I'm hoping is following through with showing them how to build a seed nursery and a regular compost pile to help show what is happening inside the new toilet. The soil there is hard enough to require a pick ax to dig, the raised bed should grow far better from that alone as well as mixing in better soil. It will be there to take compost along with the entire garden at the end.

It is hoped that as the process continues they will be able to sell the product, and perhaps collect and use the urine as fertilizer if they can find a farmer with the need.

We are looking at finding ways to spread the technology to the community through small household sized toilets of this nature. Or perhaps another school, or community toilet. This one has to get finished first.

Update!!

A few months ago I posted about a trip to Ghana I was taking to get a composting toilet started at a middle school there. Well a second trip was taken by our group not long ago and I can announce it is finished now.

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It's a far cry from the old one they were using for 250 people.

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The school is excited to try out the new toilet and they had a huge dedication where they taught the community how they work. I would have loved to go back and see all the festivities.

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The toilet is built for about double the school population, with an area set aside for girls to wash up during their time of the month hopefully improving their attendance year round. The resulting product can be sold in the future or used for the school garden.

#ghana #travel #uddt #compostingtoilets

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