Kenya is in the midst of the rainy season and this past week they have been hit with an unusual amount of rainfall. The ground, which during the dry season is hard and dry like cement, is now saturated. The fine clay soil is slick, slippery and waterlogged. Buildings and structures constructed during the dry period are now becoming increasingly unstable. During this season these headlines can be seen in Kenyan newspapers.
“Body of 41-year-old man retrieved after pit latrine collapse”- Capital News Jan 14, 2018 – KISII, Kenya
“Kenya: Six Die at Mombasa Bridal Fete After Falling Into Pit Latrine” – Kenya Direct News, March 11/2018, Mombasa, Kenya
This dangerous situation was illustrated at the St Charles Lwanga School by the partial collapse of one of their pit latrines.
Brother Kennedy reports, “All is not well due to heavy rains which sank one block of the boy’s latrine and it cannot be used and it is a no go zone because the kids can easily drop inside.”
The St Charles Lwanga School has 280 students and the sanitation needs are accommodated by the presence of 4 pit latrine structures, each with 2 doors. This means the girls have 4 stalls and the boys have 4 stalls. The partial collapse of the supporting foundation under one of the structures leaves the boys with 2 less stalls. Now there are 2 stalls for the convenience of 200 boys!!! This is an emergency situation!
Even the construction and excavating of the latrines are a risky situation with individuals digging more than 5 meters/15 feet into the soil with shovels. The latrine/toilet building is set in place over the pit, preferably on a stable foundation and when the pit is full a septic pumper truck vacuums it out.
The structure that is threatening to fall into the sewage pit at the St Charles Lwanga School, was constructed when the school did not have money for cement reinforcements to be incorporated into the pit, and to shore it up to prevent collapse.
The solution is to build a new latrine at a cost of $3000 US dollars.