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In faint praise of the restrooms of Kundiawa


Rose's special toilet 2007KUNDIAWA IS A PERFECTLY beautiful place. In fact I recommend it for anyone desiring an exotic and pleasurable holiday in an location of unexpected delights.

And I am sure it has many wonderfully respectable toilets.

Except where I stayed.

My brother-in-law, Pastor Moses, graciously asked us to stay with him. He has a lovely house, church, school and garden which are a rather steep climb to near the top of the mountain.

But it was a welcome break from a hard few months in Moresby.

The weather was cool and delicious - a touch of icy breath from Mt Wilhelm moderated by a gentle kiss of sunny warmth from the south.

We relaxed and enjoyed the comforts of PNG hospitality - which is the best you can experience.

After a while I asked if I could go to the loo. A somewhat embarrassing request, but bro-in-law was rather enthusiastic in saying yes we made a special one for you.

And he had. On the cliff overlooking a drop of 600 feet.

The little outhouse was stable on the overhang, but after clambering in I took a look down between my underpants (not wise at the best of times) and discovered the earth plummeting to the bottom of the cliff.

I swallowed my pride and fear and with a gulp performed nature's function. Then there was the business of the toilet paper.

Unfortunately the wind was blowing up from below, so I witnessed a phenomenon known in science as 'blow-back'.

I won't go into the details, suffice to say the consequences were not pretty.

I hesitate to think what happened to the villagers living down the mountain.

God bless the toilets of Kundiawa!


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Sharlene Kendo

Honestly what you described is definitely the remote part of the highlands and it just looks wonderful every time new eyes are set on it. Don't worry about the toilet part, they'll adapt.

I just hope what is natural about it won't change. Thanks bro for not being ashamed of your village and for having time to go back there to appreciate its uniqueness. Our bush material villages rock!

Trevor Freestone.

I remember the Kiaps toilet at Pagei in the current West Sepic. It sat on top of a three meter tower where one was safe from the splash created when ones deposits hit the water table which was just centimeters below ground level. Luckily things improved by the time I arrived there to teach. The patrol officers did such an amazing job to develop this remote area of PNG.

Bob Cleland

Peter, my favourite toilet is the one that used to perch on the cliff-top at Chuave, in the 1950s, several hundred feet vertically above the roaring Mai River.

The two side walls went right to the cliff edge - no entry there. The door was in the rear wall beside the palatial throne. The front with no wall at all was wide open to the spectacular view of Mount Elimbari.

Of course you had to be sitting down to enjoy it.

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