Noely Rasoaniradana is a farmer and her land is thick and alive with bushy plants, grazing cattle, insects and birds. Even her toilet is looped with a squash vine.
She planted it some distance away, but “now it’s climbing over,” she says, pleased with the fact that it’s flowering. “It’s the first time I’ve grown a squash on the toilet,” she laughs.
She divorced her husband ten years ago and her daughter and grandson live nearby. She had no choice but to build a pared down toilet. “I don’t have enough money to make it smart.” And points out the limitations of its size. “When it’s so small you can’t move easily.”
Equally, however, having seen five ducks belonging to her neighbour fall into the deep hole of her pit toilet over a period of four months (she rescued three; two died) and anxious her tiny grandson could do the same, she is relieved the hole is a modest size.
She says the most important thing about the toilet is what it represents: “health”. To underline the point, she has painted the walls creamy white, a colour of specific significance in the village. “When there are special events and celebrations, like Independence Day, people paint their houses white.”
1/5 Noely Rasoanirandana’s toilet. The white painted walls represent health and celebration.
“My neighbour’s five ducks have fallen down the toilet. I worry my grandson could do the same.”
2/5 Noely worried a toilet might be a hazard. Infact, her toilet has given her peace of mind.
3/5 Noely Rasoaniradana is a farmer. She is divorced and has five daughters, aged six to 22 and one grandson.
4/5 Women in the village dry clothes by hanging them over fences in the sunshine.