Scene 3: Toilet Viewing at Signal Hill


The students have been trying to find a time to make it to the top of Signal Hill to observe the Enviro Loo toilets installed there. They hoped that seeing them in person would inspire them with questions about how the system will work and operate in Langrug.

Cast of Characters:

WPI students


The top of a Signal Hill, part of Table Top Mountain National Park, located near the lodge in which  the students stay.


Enviro Loo at Signal Hill

Enviro Loo at Signal Hill

After a productive workday at home, we took a spontaneous trip to Signal Hill. Scott had been suggesting visiting the Enviro Loo facility at the top of the hill since we proposed our plan for a dry sanitation facility. We put our laptops aside, call a cab, and reach the top in less than 20 minutes.

The first thing we see is a structure with a wooden slanted roof and three pipes with spinning spheres attached to it. We are finally in the presence of the much talked about Enviro Loo facility. We are pleased to see the facility in its physical form. We had only imagined what it looked like through pictures and diagrams in Shaun’s brochures from last week. Without much delay, we walk into the restrooms. The girls and Joe part ways.

Inside, the facility is clean, and smells like the chemicals inside a coach bus bathroom. We each walk into the stalls to test out the toilets. The ceramic bowls look similar to a flush toilet.

Click here to learn more about the Enviro Loo system.

Enviro Loo Handicapped Toilet

Enviro Loo Handicapped Toilet

Everyone uses the toilet except Ivette. She peeks into the inside of the toilet and quickly steps away from the toilet. She feels a weird sensation of falling through the hole of the toilet seat.

After taking many pictures of the facility as if it were a landmark, we all walk out and share our experiences. Ivette confesses her fear of using the toilet. The rest of the team has a generally good reception of the facility. We can easily imagine a similar facility in Langrug. We begin to silently form questions for Shaun as we explore the rest of the flat surface top of Signal Hill. We look around us and take in the breathtaking view of a sunset falling behind Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.

Reflection and Learning:

We were very excited to finally see a live model of an Enviro Loo. We were able to use the facility to see if it would be suitable for an informal settlement. The group was generally pleased with the Enviro Loo. However, the fact that one of the group members was not comfortable using it should not be overlooked. This raised a concern for our group because it can affect the community’s acceptance of the Enviro Loo system. Because the community’s acceptance would be very critical to the longevity of the new facility, we would like for a group of community members to visit the Enviro Loo at Signal Hill.