Party for potties

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    By Cristopher Rees

    A king in Africa has insisted to celebrate with BYU students once toilets are installed.

    “They want to have a party, and the king of that region wants to come,” said Phil Allen, professor of agronomy and horticulture at BYU.

    Allen is one of the faculty of the BYU Benson Institute, providing service in Ghana.

    The group, including four students and two faculty members, is working to install a system of outdoor odorless toilets for the villagers use, he said.

    David Kooyman, professor of animal science at BYU, said the conditions at the village necessitated better sanitation.

    “They have no sanitation now, and they go to the bathroom around their houses,” Kooyman said.

    Kooyman said the new system of toilets would reduce the spread of disease.

    The 20-stall system of KVIP toilets, Kumasi Ventilated Improved Potties, will be paid for by the Benson Institute, he said.

    The villagers will dig the holes and construct the unit, Kooyman said.

    “They’re not beggars at all. They don’t want us to just give them anything,” he said.

    Kooyman, who has been leading the project, has been to the village four times identifying the needs of the village.

    Kooyman said the villagers are malnourished and have poor living conditions.

    “They live in dirt houses with thatch roofs, and only eat meat twice a year — Christmas and Easter,” he said.

    The group is planning future service activities in the village to include crop and animal farming, he said.

    Allen said plans for a pond experiment with fish and chickens has been proposed.

    “Chickens in a coop above the pond will provide fecal material to feed the algae that the fish will eat, and the people will eat the fish and sell the chickens,” Allen said.

    Allen said the group wants to teach the villagers to be self-sufficient.

    “It’s the whole package. Let’s not just hand it to them, like so many well-intentioned efforts abroad,” he said.

    Kooyman said villagers will be hired and sent to school in Ghana, where they will learn to continue the farming.

    The students participating in the service left for Africa on April 29, and will return Wednesday, June 14, said Kimberly Baker, sectretary of the Benson Institute.

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