EcoSan at Carnival
In the last weeks of winter, parades, glitter, masks, Rara bands, and dancing in the streets abound in Haiti. The weeks preceding the Christian season of Lent (which is frequently observed as a season of abstinence and discipline) feature ebullient Carnaval celebrations around the country. Each year Cap-Haitien hosts a Carnaval Des Etudiants, or “Student Carnival,” on the Thursday and Friday before the grand National Carnival, which culminates on Mardi Gras Tuesday. Young children participate in Thursday’s celebrations, while the Friday parade is populated with local teens.
This year, SOIL made a splash in the Friday celebrations by partnering with a local theater group called “Djabolo.” This group of dynamic, passionate, and talented youth has a history of collaborating with SOIL to produce creative EcoSan presentations. The Djabolo theater troupe originates from the neighborhood of Shada II, a place where sanitation concerns hit close to home. Shada II, a densely populated and largely impoverished neighborhood, has suffered a disproportionate number of cholera cases in recent years. In addition to the sanitation awareness campaigns that Djabolo participates in with SOIL, Djabolo members use their talents to empower and educate their community about public health.
For this year’s Carnaval Des Etudiants, the members of Djabolo dressed up in red and blue costumes, donned face-paint and glitter, and took to the streets with baskets of fresh produce, samples of SOIL compost, and a model EcoSan toilet. The theater troupe used song, dance, and lively skits to model and promote safe sanitation and hygiene practices, healthy eating, and the composting process. The crowd of onlookers responded to the youths’ infectious energy, and Djabolo was able to recruit some participants for improvised role-playing with the demo EcoSan toilet! Theater provides a fun and powerful platform for engaging the public with the principles of sanitation, and SOIL is looking forward to continuing collaborations with the Djabolo troupe in the future. Together, we hope to illustrate the use of EcoSan toilets, to emphasize the importance of safe hygiene practices, and to celebrate the communities who embrace sustainable waste management!