You may be wondering how on earth we managed when nature called. Well, every time we arrived at a new place on our jungle trek, one of the first things to do was to dig a long drop. The depth depended on how long we were spending in that place, but usually 2 feet deep would suffice for 15 people over night. We were on our static project sites for 3 weeks at a time so you dug it as deep as possible! I think on our first phase we dug 3 total for 3 weeks, each one about 5 feet deep. The soil from the hole was left by the side so that once you had done your business, you discretely covered it over. Before leaving, it was someone’s duty to fill the rest of it in with soil and cover it over with twigs/leaves. In a way we were actually feeding the environment!
I wrote a poem about it called ‘Ode to a long drop’ and it goes like this:
Dearest darling LD,
I do have something to confess:
Before we were introduced,
I was no fan of a cess.
But now that we’re acquainted
(10 weeks I’ve used you for wee)
You have become part of my routine
And therefore part of me.
At first I dreamt of toilet seats,
The flush of a regular loo.
I’ll admit there was a slight worry
About doing that first poo.
But back at home, I’ll still want to squat,
To see familiar AWAS* and hanging roll**.
‘Tis true, we are soon to part my dear
And I’ll miss you, you big old hole!
*AWAS refers to red and white caution tape strung up between trees to indicate the long drop location (Awas means caution/warning in Malay).
** A loo roll was hung in a plastic bag at the start of the trail to the long drop away from camp. If it was hanging there, you were free to go to the long drop. If it was not there, you had to wait as someone was using the long drop.