Theo Talks Episode 6: Loop That Poop!

More on the Secret Life of Poop Coming Soon in HD!

Talking about poop can be tricky. But not for Theo and the SOIL team! In Haiti (and many places around the world) human waste is considered taboo, and people dance around the subject nervously, treating it like a terrible secret. Most languages have euphemisms for defecation—in Haitian Creole people say they have yon ti bezwen, “a little need”, or m’ale nan twalet, “I’m going to go to the toilet. For the many people throughout Haiti who lack access to a household toilet or latrine, this “little need” is often fulfilled only under the safe cover of night. With no access to a toilet, people often resort to pooping into a plastic bag, a bucket, on a corner, or in the garbage clogged river running alongside the boulevard in Shada, Cap-Haitien. The SOIL team is committed to bringing poop into the light in a way that is respectful, dignified, and safe. SOIL’s three public toilets and showers in the neighborhood provide sanitation services to over 4,000 people daily, and now, in collaboration with Re.Source (a Stanford research team), and KOSS (a group of community organizers) SOIL’s pilot Household Toilet Project is bringing these services to nearly 150 homes.

SOIL is working tirelessly to provide sanitation services, but also to shed light on the secret life of poop, to transform wastes into resources, and also to transform peoples’ perception of poop as waste. By shedding light on the value poop can hold, and calling attention to its dangers when ignored, SOIL is endeavoring to shift the dialogue surrounding poop from negative to positive. In this video, Theo films one of the early morning “drum runs” – the collection of full poop buckets from our public toilets in Shada and surrounding communities – that the SOIL vidanj team performs twice weekly. Out of respect for the social discomfort surrounding human wastes, these collections take place before sunrise. As the work progresses, the sun slowly begins to peek out, and by the time the SOIL truck heads back to the composting site, the sun casts a warm glow on our team as they unload the heavy poop-filled buckets and prepare them for their next stint providing toilets for people who poop!

The quality of these pre-dawn videos is as grainy as many peoples’ understanding of what SOIL does in these small communities. Our hope is that as SOIL continues to spread the word, peoples’ understanding and excitement will continue to rise like the morning sun! Also, thanks to an impromptu visit from a traveling volunteer photographer/filmographer last Monday, the quality of the videos will soon rise, too! Sometime in the coming weeks look for sneak peeks of a promotional clip Ender (our volunteer filmmaker) will be making for us! Loop that Poop in HD! Stay tuned, and feel free to share your own ideas or ways of talking about poop. Toodle-oo! And poopoopeedoo!

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