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Regional News of Sunday, 31 January 2021


Men, women, children using one ‘shithole’ toilet in Otrokper

The toilet being used by the Yilo Krobo Municipality The toilet being used by the Yilo Krobo Municipality

Correspondence from Eastern Region

Residents of Otrokper, a farming community in the Upper Manya Krobo Municipal of the Eastern Region including men, women and children have the unpleasant experience of sharing only one dugout in the community disguised as a public toilet - the worst part, the only one and it’s for men, women and their children.

The toilet is a simple dugout in the ground covered with wooden slabs for a floor for squatting. It’s situated at one corner of the community with users being deprived of any privacy as the ‘facility’ is not housed, only a few shrubs for some comfort.

It is almost full with excreta and sand with hardly any new space to collect additional human waste.

Children were seen at the scene, not defeating into the dugout but preferring to ease themselves in the surroundings instead.

Comfort Kwaku Nyengor is a resident of Otrokper with her house just meters away from the public toilet. She was the first to draw the attention of GhanaWeb to the situation.

“Our public toilet is horrible, we don’t have a decent place of convenience,” she answered promptly when asked what the community’s problems were. “Even you standing there, if you must ease yourself in this community now, that’s the only place we can take you.”

Comfort Kwaku Nyengor, a single mother of three, was indeed ready and willing to lead GhanaWeb to the place and she did exactly that.

Located next to a refuse dump, she said the toilet remained the only place of convenience where the estimated hundreds of community dwellers eased themselves.

“Our major concern is that the entire community does not have a toilet facility so this is what both men and women use,” said Comfort. “When a man is using the place and a woman also wants to use it, she must wait until he has finished.”

According to her, though they found the situation discomforting and disgusting, there was no other alternative.

Asked if any efforts had been made to solve their plight, Comfort said any efforts started to get them a proper place of convenience is always abandoned along the line.

“If they lay a foundation to provide us with a toilet facility, then work stalls,” she complained.

Even though a few residents have personal places of convenience, the vast majority depend on the public dugout.

Apokyi Abraham is a father of four in Otrokper. Together with his wife and children, they depend only on the community dugout as a place of convenience.

He said “as for this toilet, we use it together with the fowls. When you’re easing yourself, then you see a fowl or pig also approaching. In fact, this toilet is very bad because we use it together with the females and children.”

An obviously disappointed Apokyi said men and women squatting on the same toilet at the same time could not be a good development.

”It’s sad that a man will be using the place and a woman also comes to squat by you and you’re looking into each other’s eyes, I’m not happy with that at all and I want us [men] to stop watching our women to avoid any incidents of rape.”

He’s ashamed residents do not have a decent place of convenience for their visitors and appealed to authorities to come on board and provide them with a toilet facility.

Apokyi explained that those without places of convenience in their homes and not comfortable with the community toilet, resort to open defecation as they eased themselves in the bushes and surroundings.

Assembly man’s response

Assembly man for Otrokper, Joshua Teye Padi said though plans to provide a toilet facility for the community was first conceived years ago under the former District Chief Executive (DCE), Joseph Tetteh Angmor, the plan is yet to see the light of day.

According to him, the community led by the Dadematse for the area, acquired a plot of land at Gh?2,000 for the project and proceeded to discuss the issue with former Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Manya Krobo, Jeff Kavienu but no headway was made.

He said the current DCE for the area, Felix Nartey Odjao, as part of efforts to address the problem, awarded contract and subsequently cut sod for the commencement of the project in 2019 with assurances from the contractor that works would be completed within three months.

The Assembly man said though works began immediately after the sod cutting, the construction stalled along the line after the contractor packed his tools and left citing failure of the government to make financial commitments towards the project as reasons.

He’s therefore appealing to benevolent individuals, organisations and the government to come on board and construct the facility for the people.

A 71-year-old retired nurse who has been living in the community for the past 35 years, Madam Comfort Lanor, empathised with the community, adding that the situation compelled her to construct her own bio-digester toilet facility and therefore immune from the current difficulties.