*Please note: Author makes no apologies for the number of toilet related puns in this article.
In 2018, a group comprised of intrepid Random Acts supporters, thespian friends of our Co-Founder and Board President Misha Collins, and Random Acts staffers embarked on an adventure to visit Nicaragua and the Free High School of San Juan del Sur. Their mission was to spend one week providing manual labor to the school by finishing up a host of projects. This included creating paths, planting fruit trees, and the undesirable but incredibly necessary work of digging holes for new eco-friendly composting toilets.
Loads of Hard Work*
Coming from a world with indoor plumbing, you would think the crew’s attitude regarding this part of the project would be down in the dumps.* On the contrary, they recognized their privilege in taking something like the ability to use the restroom for granted, and this made them more than willing to help. In fact, as many as 2.6 billion people around the world lack any sanitation whatsoever. Therefore, they grabbed their pickaxes and shovels and went to work. During their time in Nicaragua, they were able to help build several composting toilets. When Kim Rhodes (one of those philanthropic friends of Misha’s and an active Random Acts supporter) returned to the states, she was completely pooped!*
“I worked on one toilet. Osric and I dug. And dug. And dug. And measured. And dug. And double checked the blueprints. And dug. And dug. I learned important things, like a pickaxe should not be swung backward over the shoulder no matter how Yosemite Sam does it because you’ll skewer your kidney and that I can have a two hour conversation in Spanish in spite of knowing only five words of Spanish.”
Seeing the state of restroom related affairs in San Juan del Sur didn’t make Kim rage against the latrine.* Instead, she felt energized by the people of Nicaragua.
“I very much tried not to look at things from a place of pity or judgement. I never want help to morph into colonialism and entitlement. So what struck me was how simple things were and how little self-pity was evident in the community. They were overjoyed to have better options, but refused to let circumstances limit them. They were powerful and resourceful people I admired greatly.”
Story Time for a Cause
Kim hosted a story time on Facebook live, where she read children’s books as supporters donated to the cause. In total, Random Acts supporters raised $2500 during the stream, which helped to install eight toilet systems around the village for families, including one at the school itself. These systems will go a long way to making a necessary life function just a tad less difficult.