Thursday, January 20

Nyumba Chikulu

Nyumba Chikulu means "Big House" and is slang for "toilet." Chimbuzi is a more formal term. Since there is no running water in rural Zambia, many Zambians build outhouses -- or pit latrines -- behind their homes. Most, however, do not.

Although popular with Westerners, many Zambians are not wild about latrines. If they need to urinate, most just swing by the bath shelter. If they have to, uh, do something else, they often head for the bush. Being seen entering a latrine is very embarrassing for a Zambian.

Here's a cross-section of the "perfect latrine":

Instead of excusing himself to the toilet, my friend, John, often said: "I have to visit a sick Indian." I don't know how he came up with that.