The Toilets of Kilimanjaro

Africa, Tanzania — By on August 11, 2013 10:28 AM

The sun setting behind an outhouse on the beautiful mountain of Kilimanjaro may appear to be a rather inviting toilet … but don’t be deceived!

What lurks inside is an unspeakable horror!

In anticipation for climbing seven days on the mountain, I had brought with me brand new “Shewee,” a portable urine device  that allows women to to “stand up and take control”. I ran off on my own into the rainforest excited to use my pink shewee the first day of the climb (while Jenn and Karen were green with envy) but quickly decided it was more trouble than it was worth. A really cool idea in theory and I am sure I will find occasions to use in the future (and to film my “how to shewee video”), but for frequent and prolonged urination situations I would not recommend the device .

I was experiencing an annoying side effect of the drug Diamox (taken to help with acclimation), causing me to have to pee twenty plus times a day. I joked each day that “I have broken the seal” as when I had to go, I really had to go. I actually peed in my pants a little on summit night, as it took us a long time to find an adequate place to pop a squat.

What I hadn’t considered was that I would need to rinse my shewee after each use. I was carrying and required to drink 3-4 liters of water a day and I did not want to carry another liter for the sole purpose of cleaning my portable urine device!

So I tried my best to squat and take control with my own god given devices, but most often I missed the small holes (as did everyone else) and peed on the ground and my boots.

And this picture was taken shortly after someone had actually “cleaned” the toilet. I sincerely hope that unfortunate woman was paid well!

After day two of unsuccesful squats at “toilets” and almost passing out from holding my breath … I decided to just pee in the great outdoors each time, even if a “toilet” were available nearby.

These big rocks offer great privacy with a fantastic view …

and these big bushes found in the Shira Valley offered quite a tranquil setting to relieve yourself. I would definitely pee here again.

Moral of this story, I still very much prefer taking care of business surrounded by nature and without the aid of a portable urinary device. I think it is also important to note, that for the first time in 35 years, I finally planted a “Kelly Tree” ! The ground was too hard to dig, so I am unsure if my tree will actually grow as it was covered up by a rock.

*This post is dedicated to my good friend Tanvi, who has much difficulty squatting through life. Because I care so much about her and wish to make her life easier and happier whenever possible,  I will be passing on my shewee to her once I return to San Francisco. I believe she can provide the pink plastic with the love and attention it truly deserves. Karibu!!! Hakuna Matata!!!


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1 Comment

  1. Brett says:

    It sounds like at the end you were triumphant in your bathroom follies. I was worried for awhile, but thankfully there was a happy ending to this story. Tanvi’s quite lucky to have a blog like this dedicated to her. I just wish it was me. – B

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