CENTRAL AMERICA

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: CENTRAL AMERICA
Author: Alan J Marshall (Ecointerest)
Thursday, November 06, 2008 - 8:56 pm
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Jeff and Cindy, just a couple of observations from my experience in East Africa, back in the 1970s.
I believe that one of the factors which can work against a community accepting the composting loo is the one of "not going where someone else has been." You can get all manner of taboos operating, like having long-term bad relationships with neighbours, to the evil spirits residing in the faeces, etc. It's probably not feasible to change such local attitudes over a short timescale.
However, in using the 5-gal bucket as in the Humanure method, it can be kept within the family, not for public use, each family having their own facility, and maybe this would help towards acceptance of the new system. No outsider uses it.
If a system is developed for more public use, I would think the addition of cover material, sufficient to cover every bit of the last user's deposit, would help the next person to feel more comfortable. Getting everyone to be conscientious is a difficult task. Even in our "western" societies, very few people think about the feelings of the next person who use the facility, and leave the toilet clean and tidy.
These are aesthetic considerations, and most people can understand them. They vary somewhat from culture to culture, so one needs to be very sensitive to local traditions.

Author: Jeff Wright (Dryshop)
Thursday, November 06, 2008 - 2:36 pm
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Well I'll tell you where I'm at cause I have similar questions and Joe can clear me up. I started using the 5 gallon bucket toilet a little over two years ago.It works just like The humanure handbook said it would. I thought of building a double vault for my self. I was curious about the ins and outs ofcomposting on a pad, but basically came to the design conclusion since i did want to add vegetable scraps and anything else for that matter. that i would want constant access to the pile so i could tend it. So for me it came back to the simplicity of the bucket. I'm not against tending it though.I've thought of that at more public restrooms, three sided bin in place, the commode above, an attendant adding boards on the fourth side and adding other organics. That can be scaled down to family size also, it wouldn't be a burdensome job even taking care of a family of eight, i think your missing out by not adding all your organics,it's the diversity that makes it cook. How do they use their present latrines, does each individual add cover material? Is it raked down. How is the pile accessible? is it tended?

Author: Cindy Lefieste (Volunteer)
Thursday, November 06, 2008 - 9:33 am
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Yes they are above ground double vaults. Right now we are teaching the people to not but anything in the vaults except feces,and dry material. From reading humanure handbook I know the piles need more nitrogen, but now it is just convincing my boss and other volunteers. My project is to improve the latrine design. These latrines are being put in communities mostly with a high water table. People in my site are accustomed to using the river so composting latrines are a little complicated. I am trying to simplify it and make them more easily constuctable. Is it possible to use big plastic barrels instead of concrete vaults?

Author: Jeff Wright (Dryshop)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - 5:37 pm
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so the latrines are above ground double vaults? Are you adding vegetable scraps too? In granada no one i saw was composting humanure. there was one guy trying to get folks to compost their kitchen scraps. I talked to him briefly and encouraged him to go the whole way. It is a beautiful town with sewer running in the streets into lake Nicaragua. Iwas told it was grey water only but I'm skeptical. they may have tanks collecting solids but the leach probably joins the gray water. Folks are receptive though

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - 7:37 pm
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The only Spanish humanure info is here: http://josephjenkins.com/humanure_spanish.html

Author: Cindy Lefieste (Volunteer)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 - 1:40 pm
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I am in Panama, currently I am finding that people are using thier compost latrines but are not using or even taking out the compost from the latrine. I am afraid that in a few years they will just stop using it when both sides are full and go back to using the river or pit latrine. Is the Humanure book translated in spanish?

Author: Jeff Wright (Dryshop)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - 5:57 pm
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Cindy, where were you in Central America? I recently went down to Granada Nicaragua to teach horseshoeing, while there I gave a copy of The Humanure Handbook to Peace corp volunteers working closely with the non profit I was with. Looking at returning and helping with their composting efforts.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Friday, October 24, 2008 - 5:10 pm
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The advantage of small (20 liter) receptacles is that they can be set up anywhere, while the composting can take place at a fixed location. A composting bin should be small enough to be able to reach the center of it from all sides with a fork or shovel. The more compost you make, the more bins you would use. There are, of course, exceptions, for example, such as large batches of compost produced at once (then you can use large bins).

Author: Cindy Lefieste (Volunteer)
Friday, October 24, 2008 - 11:38 am
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How big should a receptacles be if a family of 8 is using it for six months at a time? I am not exactly sure what pathogens werenīt killed but I will get that information at a later date. Thanks for your help.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Friday, October 17, 2008 - 4:23 pm
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What sort of pathogens were you testing for?

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 8:51 pm
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Don't separate urine. Don't use wood ashes. Both of these practices impede the composting process. Use more organic cover material such as sawdust, if you can get it, in the toilets to compensate for the extra urine and to prevent odor. Smaller toilet receptacles allow for a more precise and efficient use of the sawdust and better (total) odor and fly control.

Don't compost below ground. Compost in above ground bins. Add all food materials, animal manures, etc. to the humanure compost bin.

Have you checked into the information on this web site, particularly at http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/humanure.html?

Have you watched the videos (http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/videos.html)?

Author: Cindy Lefieste (Volunteer)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - 12:48 pm
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I am a volunteer in Central America and am promoting compost latrines. I am not satisfied with the design or the success rate. Right now the urine is being separated and the main dry material is saw dust and ash. There are two bins. One is used for six months then covered and the other is used. Six latrines had their compost, that had been untouched for a year, tested and all of them had pathogens that werenít killed. It has been concluded that the reason why not all the pathogens are being killed is because the temperature isnít getting hot enough. I was wondering if you had any ideas how I can improve either the design or maintenance of the latrine. I plan on evaluating about 200 composting latrines in this area and determine the success rate and help improve the design. Looking for any information I can get.

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