On one of those evenings before I moved into school, I had just alighted at the bus-stop close to my house when I saw people in small groups gathered and gisting. Being the well-informed person I like to think I am, I stopped to ask what the congregation was for. The story I heard thereafter kept me laughing till I got home. I still think about it and laugh really hard!
I was told that Uyi, an old neighbour who had just come from Malaysia was ‘washing tyre’ when they suddenly heard him scream. Unsatisfied with their account of the story, I decided that I would ask ‘the horse’ to hear from his mouth. Imagine how disappointed I was when I didn’t see him for many weeks! People wouldn’t stop talking about it either… Some said Mama Osas’ had finally succeeded(through diabolic means) in preventing people from urinating in front of her house, others said nemesis was catching up with Uyi for all his atrocities!
Mama Osas’ house was in the midst of all the beer parlours in my area, so whenever the guys felt the need to urinate, her surroundings were usually the first port of call. The poor widow has exchanged words with most of the beer parlour owners and even some trespassers for this reason. She complained of the foul smell emanating from their urine and more annoying was the fact that her flowers had refused to grow. Each time they repainted her house, she always made sure they printed ‘DO NOT URINATE HERE -By Order’ on the wall. I remember one occasion I encountered few years back. A young school boy was urinating in front of her house when she suddenly came out of the house with a bowl of hot water. She started to yell, “This boy! Them no train you for house abi?! Useless pikin! Na God go punish you o! Idiot!…” The young boy, who unfortunately, had just started the act before the woman came out ran for dear life with little ‘junior’ dangling from side to side! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
I finally saw Uyi in town on Wednesday. Trust me, after exchanging pleasantries, I went on to ask him about the tragedy that befell him the other day. After many unsuccessful attempts to deviate from the topic, he finally agreed to talk about it. According to him, some old friends had come to visit him that evening, so he decided to take them out for some drinks at a nearby beer parlour. After some bottles, he needed to take a leak, so he went to a car parked in front of Mama Osas’ house and decided to ‘wash tyre’ (urinate on one of the tyres). While he was at it, he felt something creep up his trousers and before he was done, he felt a sharp sting on his right leg. They later found out that it was a scorpion’s sting. As expected, his story cracked me up again!
After I had laughed to my fill, I began to question why a fine and educated young man like him would even urinate in public in the first place. He complained of the deplorable state of the few public toilets and their inaccessibility. He told me of how, in Malaysia, they have public toilets which are just as accessible as pay-phones are in Nigeria. Sadly, I see some sense in what he said. Public toilets in Nigeria are nothing to write home about.
I wouldn’t advise anyone to use a public toilet in Nigeria, but what happens when one’s stomach suddenly becomes upset?! For marketers and sales people especially, it is a convenience that cannot be done without. Very often, ‘dermatitis’ ( skin irritation in this case, around the buttocks and upper thighs leading to painful and eventually, itchy eruptions) may occur. Who wants to deal with that?!
Isaac Durojaiye (SAN) conceived the idea of DMT mobile toilets in 1992, first manufactured mobile toilets locally in 1996 and went ahead to complement them with about thirty other mobile toilets from the United Kingdom in 1999. Three years later, after acquiring necessary technology and technical know-how, DMT began manufacturing high quality plastic mobile toilets in Nigeria. Very commendable, I must admit; but how accessible are these mobile toilets and how clean are they? My friend, Osawe had this to say, “I would rather do my ‘business on the roadside with plenty fresh air and my privacy can be guaranteed with my palms”.
In my opinion, many unemployed Nigerians can explore this opportunity. Work on providing good public toilets and more importantly, ensure that these toilets are maintained. I’m sure many of us have seen some really nice ones in movies. By doing this, you’ld be providing employment for a good number of people(from janitors to attendants). It will also contribute to a cleaner environment, help create public health and environmental awareness).
What is even most amazing about these public toilets is how people would still have the time to scribble on the walls. From seeking financial assistance to advertising for sugar parents. Some go as far as dropping phone numbers. Haba!
(All characters, names and events in this story are fictional and a creation of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to any real persons or occurrences is simply a coincidence).
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.
Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.