Thursday, August 9, 2012
Is this it? Really?
On the road to Cape Coast we stopped at a petrol station in search of a public toilet. Given that there was an attached restaurant we were optimistic that we may find something halfway decent. Even more promising was a large sign painted on a wall pointing to washrooms behind the restaurant.
What we found, however, were what looked like three concrete shower cubicles, with no drain hole. Given that there was a sign pointing directly to them, it seemed a fairly logical assumption that this was the toilet. And before you jump in and say that it couldn't possibly be, let me just say that the three women and a child ahead of me all made the same assumption and went ahead and did their business in there.
For about five seconds I contemplated 'making the most' of the situation, but on closer inspection, I chose instead to go and find the manager of the restaurant.
When I asked for directions to the bathroom, the woman directed me towards the petrol station where I should ask for the key. Indeed there was a key, and there was a proper toilet, with the added luxury of running water - something which is becoming a rare find even in restaurants in Accra.
When I returned the key I mentioned to the attendant that people were following the signs behind the restaurant and doing their business there. She looked at me as if I was insane and told me that was impossible. I confirmed that, oh, yes, people were most definitely using it as a toilet.
The saddest thing about this incident is that public expectations about sanitation in Ghana are so ridiculously low, that people would look at a concrete cubicle without drainage and think 'yes, this must be the bathroom'.
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net