Something is better than nothing. It’s a phrase that seems logical. How can one disagree with marginal improvement? Unfortunately, doing something can often get in the way of doing the right thing. A perfect case in point is The Latrine.
Latrines are a common solution to the problem of managing human waste (poop!) in poor communities around the world. It’s simple. It’s cheap. A latrine can usually be built using all local materials and labor. Theoretically, a latrine can reduce people’s exposure to disease. Practically, well, that’s a different story. It’s hard to find a latrine that is free of flies and other insects, which often carry bacteria and viruses back into our living spaces. Flies love latrines and flies love kitchens. If you can’t build a latrine that keeps out flies, you’ve actually brought contaminated flies closer to your kitchen. Right now you are probably thinking, Gross!
But you probably started thinking, “Gross!” as soon as I mentioned the word latrine. I spent my summers growing up at a summer camp. The campground areas had latrines and the dining lodge had flush toilets. A large percentage of the campers never set foot in the latrines. They held it and waited to go when they were at the dining lodge for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Why did they subject themselves to so much suffering? Because latrines are unpleasant options. That’s a universal truth. No one aspires to have a latrine near their living area.
When we spend time and resources making marginal improvements, we delay and potentially make it impossible to fund real solutions. You could easily spend more time and money gradually working your way to a fully functional water and sanitation approach than you would spend if you simply did the right thing from the start. In the end, you have wasted money and effort and lost lives – both through disease and through time wasted doing unproductive things like walking for water.
Water1st is happy to report that we are one step closer to supporting a real toilet solution in Ethiopia. The process has not been simple. The Ethiopian government has a policy that prevents organizations from subsidizing the cost of a household toilet. Subsidizing the cost of a water system is allowed, but not toilets. Water Action, Water1st’s local partner in Ethiopia, has been working to change that policy, but it has been difficult to persuade the government to reverse its course. So they have been stuck with promoting latrines for years. Recently, they decided to try a modified toilet design that households could purchase. Because the toilet is for sale, not everyone is able to adopt the change, but it provides better service to some families.
On our most recent Ethiopia visit, one of our monitoring objectives was to assess the success of the new toilet design. We were impressed with the results. A few toilets have been in use for over a year and they were clean, odor-free, and insect free. We recommended the addition of a water seal to the design to create a water barrier between the waste and the environment. With that simple change, these toilets will be a real solution. People are already pleased with the current design. They say it doesn’t smell at all and it is easy to keep clean. They aren’t reluctant build the toilet close to the house. And when a toilet is right at the house, it’s really convenient to use, even at night or during the rainy season. Once Dima Jeliwan’s water project is complete and there is household water service for all, it will be easy to access the water needed to flush these toilets. If the Ethiopian government changes it’s policy on toilet subsidies, Water1st can fund these toilets at every house. If there is no policy change, we will look into other options to help people adopt the new toilet, like offering families a loan to purchase the materials needed to build a toilet. If they can spread the cost of the toilet over a couple years, more families might adopt them quickly.
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Approximate shipping costs:
Fall 2021 promotion – Free shipping of orders of 12 bottles (1 case). You may order as many cases as you want. Free shipping promotion is limited to 2 cases/person/month.
Please note approximate shipping costs vary depending on destination. Due to shipping fees that are beyond our control, our suggested minimum order is 3 bottles:
1-3 bottles $24-28
6 bottles $27-37
12 bottles $37-57
*If shipping to Alaska and Hawaii, please call the winery for a quote at (509) 875-2211
Shipping available to the following 36 states + Washington DC: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Water from Wine is a very small winery and unable to benefit from competitive shipping rates that larger wineries enjoy. Wine is shipped via UPS, which adds additional fees for shipping alcohol because an adult over 21 must sign for delivery. Water from Wine does not profit from shipping costs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns..