Bathrooms at Sadhana Forest, Auroville, India

Going Potty at Sadhana Forest

Composting With Sawdust

Because I’m nearly 29 and I still find poop funny, let’s talk about the bathroom situation at Sadhana Forest. As you know if you’ve been following the entries, toilets in India are usually squatty potties. AKA, you squat over a hole, do your business and flush.

Need to pee, go on a treeAt Sadhana, this concept is taken a step further. Instead of water and flushing, toilets have a bag of sawdust next to them which is used to cover your business after the deed is done.

The idea behind sawdust is that when combined with poo it combines to form a very potent compost. At least a few times a week the hole must be stirred, which is usually a first or second work activity that  I avoided like the plague.

Once the hole is full, the bathroom is shut down for a few days while the composting process concludes. Then, volunteers scoop out the hole and save the contents for spreading throughout the forest and gardens.

While this is a great way to get amazing compost for planting, it sometimes creates a problem for volunteers at Sadhana. For example, despite the existence of nearly a dozen toilets, at one point only two of them were working for around 60 volunteers.

This included the pee areas for the women (men were encouraged to pee on a tree). As a result, there were often long lines to use the bathrooms and first and second work were sometimes begun with that special feeling in the stomach. But that’s enough of that from the nearly 29 year old 😛