The Ghana Files: A wee problem

Just as a heads up, this is a pretty gross and rather unfortunate story. Though I could really use some advice, if you can make it through to the end for me.

Unfortunately, this post is going to be about public urination.

In Ghana, public urination seems to be the norm. Anywhere you go, any time of day you are likely to see someone voiding their bladder wherever they choose. Men and women, young and old; it really does not matter, it seems that almost everyone does it. Granted, this is not like the United States where you just pull over at the nearest gas station (or Starbucks, if you’re in New York City.) Very rarely will you see public bathroom facilities. A college campus, on the other hand, should have ample bathroom facilities. Right?

My college is situated on the top of a hill, on a rather sprawling campus consisting of many buildings. At any time, the college accommodates about 800 students and a teaching staff of about 60. This is not counting the non-teaching staff, the administration, and any amount of visitors that may be on the campus regularly. That being said, there seem to be two toilets on campus. One is always locked, the other is in a very remote corner far away from everything else. Near the student housing, there is an interesting little set up with various stalls housing nothing more than holes in the ground. At any rate I live on the edge of campus, very far from any of these toilet options. Next door there is a large building housing 8 – 10 classrooms. This building is primarily used by my school for normal classes, but sometimes it houses programs from outside visitors.

It seems to me that this building must not have a toilet facility. Why do I say that? Because people from that building keep coming over and “going” behind my house. Specifically, right outside of my bedroom window.

This all began when I left for break. I received an email from a friend who was staying in my house as a guest while I was gone, she informed me that there was a program happening on my campus and that all of the teachers seemed to be using the spot right outside of my bedroom window as their official toilet facility. That’s great, I thought – but at least that program would be over by the time I got back to campus.

A little over a week ago, I returned from my trip. Walked into my bedroom, and the first thing I notice is the overwhelming stench of urine. I thought to myself that at least that program is over and people will stop peeing outside of my window. Hopefully the smell will go away on it’s own. A few days later it rained, and while I thought the rain would wash everything away it only seemed to “reinvigorate” the scent.

What’s more? Now, even the students at my school seem to have caught on that my bedroom window is the “going” spot.

What can I do? Seriously? What can I do? The only thing I can think of is posting a sign. A sign very similar to the “do not urinate here” signs that I found so amusing when I first arrived. Here’s to hoping that people actually pay attention to signs here, unlike back home. I still don’t know what to do about the lingering scent, the rain has obviously not helped things.


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