In almost all of Zambia running water is a luxury few people can afford. That makes washing dishes, cooking, washing clothes, bathing, getting a nice refreshing drink, and many other daily activities much more difficult. There is one very important daily activity that has been more adversely affected than all of the others: defecation. In plain language: pooping.
The bathroom is a cinder block structure out behind the house. It has no door, and the bamboo fence that used to be a privacy screen in front of the doorway is laying broken on the ground. There is no light, and usually no candle either. The floor is concrete and the roof is tin. The toilet hole is a 6"x12" hole in the middle of the floor. That's it, just a hole in a room.
You may think this is no huge problem. I thought the same thing until I tried my hand at pooping without sitting. The first problem is the squatting position. I don't know how the Zambians do it, but I have real difficulty finding a way to get everything where it's supposed to go and not on the floor or my pants. I've had such trouble with it that I've resorted to putting my hand on the filty floor for extra stability.
When they run out of toilet paper (which seems to be pretty often) they either leave none there, which makes me wonder about Zambian hygiene, or they use the KIDS' HOMEWORK. "We're really proud of you, Billy, but we're going to have to take your A- paper off of our nonexistent refridgerator and wipe our asses with it." Education is very highly regarded here.
The smell is what you'd expect. Times ten. I swear I can see the green stink lines coming up in waves from the hole when I kick the rotted piece of wood off of the craphole.
And here's the cherry on top. One night I had to use the pit latrine after dark (though I try to avoid it because there's a real danger of snakes coming out of the hole) so I brought my flashlight with me. When I got in and kicked off the lid the usual swarm of houseflies flew out, then I got the great idea that I should shine the light down into the hole to see what was going on down there. It's only poop, right? Wrong. It's poop, yes, but it's also a gigantic teeming cesspool of maggots feeding off of last month's casserole. So that's where those flies came from! Super!