The 55th synod of the Limpopo District is meeting on the outskirts of Mbombela. Besides being surrounded by beauty, one sees the obvious commercial endeavours by business as shopping centres appear on every corner. There is a certain safety one feels when surrounded by commerce. I can’t quite describe this feeling, but I think you know what I am talking about. Then we arrived and after travelling for 3 hours, one needs to find relief. I saw some temporary toilets positioned outside the hall where we are meeting, but didn’t take much notice. I looked for the real toilets, the ones that flush, smell clean and have a mirror over a basin so that I can check my face. But to no avail. The decent toilets were for the ladies only. “C’mon, how can they expect us to use these facilities? Didn’t they plan properly?” And then it dawned on me. Our country has been rocked by the scandals of “open toilets” given to poor communities. By open toilets I mean that municipalities of several towns have simply planted toilets on the sidewalks or in the properties of the poor without enclosing them. People were therefore expected to do their business in the open.
My denomination, the Methodist Church, has proclaimed that we are a church in solidarity with the poor. How can we be so if we meet in the luxury of a place with flushing toilets? So, humbled, but proud to belong to this denomination, I went to the toilets. They stank already. They were dark inside. No water to wash your hands. This is Africa and this toilet would be counted a luxury in many communities.
I am converted again.