Implications of cultural variables on...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Implications of cultural variables on success.
Author: Jprokos (Jprokos)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 9:20 pm
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Maybe I should have posted this in, "Humanure Composting Around the World"?

Is there a way to move it? Or, should I repost it in the above directory?

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 10:49 pm
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Hi, I spent 5 weeks in Nepal (Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan, KTM). Here are a few observations, open to discussion.
1. The "porcelain hole,' squat toilet works well in most places. Admittedly it can smell a bit, and many individuals are not very good aimers. Still it's well accepted, tried and tested over many years. The squat position (please excuse my directness here) does help to prevent peri-anal contamination.
2. It is a fairly strong cultural requirement that you use your left hand for anal cleansing. The right hand is used for eating food with!
3. If someone wishes to try a composting, Humanure, method, as has been pointed out, anal washing with water presents a problem. You don't want too much moisture in the bucket. One suggestion would be to have the Humanure bucket close to the porcelain toilet. Anal washing is done over the latter. You would still be saving on quite a lot of water.
4. On the plus side, there is usually plenty of organic, carbonaceous material around....if it has not already been marked for feeding the goats/cows/chickens. For example, rice hulls and dried banana leaf which has be pulverised/ground down into dust. Also, rice straw (that which is strewn on the ground around a hay rick and not suitable for animal feed)is readily available for the long-term compost pile. The straw which has already been used for animal bedding could be co-composted with humanure.
5. If a Humanure system is being utilised, people should be encouraged to urinate into the bucket as well. The moisture is valuable to keep the compost process working well.

This is obviously an ongoing discussion, and not everyone will agree to all these points I have raised.

Author: Jprokos (Jprokos)
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 3:18 am
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My first post here. 'Humanure' was written for Americans and predominately focused on convincing them this method is OK. That's fine. For people living in areas outside puritanical influence that effort is mostly wasted.

I do have some questions before I tackle this project.

Over the hole: We generally have latrines here, in Nepal, and the custom for cleaning after defecation is to rinse with water. There is no toilet seat. Instead there is generally a concrete or porcelain ring you squat over. I would guess that on average a person uses 500 ml of water to clean their anus and hands. Is the soap used while washing ones hands afterwards a contaminant? We don't have pipes, sinks or even running water. Water is scooped out of a bucket with a small pitcher.

Covering: We have lots of wood charcoal because we use wood for cooking. Can wood coal be used instead of sawdust, leaves, or other organic matter? If not entirely what is a suitable ratio? Should it be pulverized first?

Composting: The weather here is also very different. We have a cold dry winter season and a mild wet summer season (monsoon). Do you foresee any difficulties in this situation? There is generally a lack of water at the end of the dry season, barely enough to wash and cook with, let alone sprinkle over a drying compost heap.

I forgot to add that the temperatures outdoors are pretty much what we have indoors. We have no central heating to warm up filled buckets. However, it rarely goes below freezing in the winter time.

I look forward to any suggestions the forum might have on these questions. Thank you

(Message edited by jprokos on February 27, 2012)

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