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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #5: Lost & Found

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

An outdoor latrine    –    Wooden toilet seat

 

Grey galvanize     –    Concrete slab flooring

 

Brown wood     –    A tight space

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

The cesspit or outdoor toilet is one of Grenada’s lost and found cultural legacies. Today, we use indoor, flush toilets that are more safe (health-wise) and accessible (in terms of distance). Having said that, the cesspit is a prime example of how culture can positively influence financial and social interactions. Having an outdoor latrine celebrates the past, eliminates water bills, and reduces cleaning supplies expenses. In terms of its social impact, cesspits are built and discarded through community collaborations/services.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

At first blush, the outdoor toilet is representative of the social stigma concerning the lower class, particularly here in Grenada. Also, the cesspit is symbolic of the vulnerability of one’s cultural status as the toilet houses and gets rid of the rejected aspects of ourselves. Simply speaking, the outside latrine serves as an alternative/traditional option (as was already mentioned above). Rightfully so, the uncovered outdoor toilet raises unhygienic concerns as biodegradable gas and other chemical fumes flow freely in the tight space that can negatively affect people’s health or well-being. However, upon closer observation, especially in regards to the ways in which culture affects Grenada’s socio-economic issues, the outdoor latrine can be viewed as a period of reexamination of relationships with other countries in the pursuit of finding solutions for accumulated problems. More telling is the perception that the cesspit behooves us not to sit idly by when it comes to addressing problems. In other words, the outdoor latrine asks us not to waste time in idle discussions and suggests that Grenada should be careful when entering new deals. Likewise, the isolation of the outside toilet is not only indicative of being reserved (as is evident in the symbolic meaning of grey), but its seclusion also implies that Grenada should relax a bit and concentrate on the details of each agreement with the intention of not being afraid of experiencing cultural, social, and economic losses.

PHOTO Title: Cesspit: Drop It Like It’s Hot

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s,

Photographer: Horace George

 

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