EDUCATION DEPARTMENT LEAVES LEARNERS CONFUSED
How many toilet blocks does a rural school need?
Crabbush primary school in Hogsback (well under 100 pupils) is watching in disbelief while departmental builders erect a face-brick block of (probably) long-drop loos.
Disbelief because just last month, Engineers Without Borders, after more than a year of planning and consultation, sent 4 young engineers out from Germany to build, with community help, carefully designed, eco-friendly composting toilets for the school (see photo).
These young people worked two jobs to raise the money to pay for their tickets and for their stay here. They paid everything out of their own pockets!
The building they designed and built not only provides toilets for the children but the results generated will feed a vegetable and fruit garden, providing fresh food as well as giving opportunities for learners to acquire gardening skills.
No sooner had the beautiful new block been opened, than builders sent by the Department of Education, arrived with piles of expensive face bricks and loads of sand and stone, arrived on site. They dug up part of the garden and started building a toilet block.
Mr Nathi Beja, the Principal, immediately asked if the building could be changed into a kitchen, which is urgently needed. The answer was no. “The budget is for a toilet block, not a kitchen,” he was told. This is apparently something that has been on the cards for years, while children struggled with unfit ‘long-drops’.
It seems, moreover, that these departmentally-built ones are planned to be flush toilets, although the water supply to the school has been cut off for lack of payment, and the only present supply is from a rainwater tank.
People wishing to admire this memorial to bureaucratic bungling are welcome to come to Hogsback. Drive through the incredibly beautiful flowering azaleas, admiring lush and colourful gardens on the way. Turn left off the Main Road into Nutwoods Drive (look for The Edge sign), take the right fork, then turn left on the second road, Woodside Drive. The school is 50 metres down on your right.
Bring your camera!
Box 132, Hogsback 5721
EwB toilets half-built
A view of the EwB completed toilets and the start of the Departmental ones.