Patrick Kossima, Unyanja FM Radio
The constant harassment of fishermen by authorities in a beach village next to Lake Nyasa could be a contributing factor to the lack of adequate sanitary facilities in the area.
Chiulu village is located about 7km south east of Nyasa District Headquarters. People here engage in a number of income generating activities, with fishing providing livelihoods for the vast majority. Otherwise, villagers engage in other small businesses mainly involving selling foodstuffs and beverages.
Even though the area is abuzz with activity, toilet facilities are hard to come by. They are are few and temporary in nature. And there is a good reason behind this state of affairs, according to Samwel Chiwalo, the chairman of Huduma Beach.
“Why haven’t we put up proper toilet facilities here, you may ask,” he poses before adding, “first of all, you cannot earn a living as a fisherman here in peace because of the running battles [with the fisheries authorities,” he explains.
People do not see the need to put up permanent structures, simply because the fishermen are not allowed to go about their activities freely. So, it is difficult to convince them to raise funds, to construct a good toilet.
On the other hand, this is not to say that no such facilities used to exist. Chiwalo explains that the beach area used to have about six toilets a few years back, but whatever there is now are temporary structures
“They cost more,” he says of permanent facilities. They have therefore resorted to having temporary toilets, which can only last for two years, then they are forced to start again.
He however insists that the need to have better and more facilities installed in the area could not be more pressing, especially considering given the recent cholera outbreak.