Ndeda Island is a Kenya landmass of fishermen in Lake Victoria. This huge lake is Africa’s largest. It is renowned in part for its abundant yield of brown bass and tilapia.
The 10,000 who live in Ndeda Island catch the fish and haul it to coastal towns such as Kisumu where it is sold.
Mary, my wife, and I, were invited in 2007 to host a Bible conference on this bustling island.
Upon our arrival to the shores of the island, most of its children hurriedly gathered around our boat. For most, they had never seen a white person (mzungu). We were a novelty, a new toy for them to play with, and for the next five days, they were glued to us.
I was sadly informed that Ndeda Island did not have a single toilet ( choo) to accommodate its thousands of inhabitants. Their potty was a vast corn field which also served as food that had been cultivated through human manure.
Mary, is genuine missionary. Being part of Youth With Mission in the 80’s, she knows how to rough it, every time and anywhere.
Mary was an evangelist in Amsterdam’s red light district, smuggled Bibles into then communist Russia, and served Bogota’s street kids, los gamines.
I, however, am a tourist missionary. I love the mission field but do need hot baths, and American toilets if possible. I don’t like eating weird food as well.
I tried to wrap around my brain the concept of how do 10,000 people go potty daily in one corn field?
It wasn’t long till I found out.
As we closed upon the tall vegetation I took my leap of faith and soared “where no man had gone before.”
“Oh My God!”
“Oh No, Watch Out!”
What I discovered, I would not wish on my worst enemy.
This was a mine field of excrement.
Separating one husk, and one tree one from another, I could not find a two by two square feet space that was free from human feces.
Every other stride was met by yet another horribly dirty deed that must be sidestepped.
It was the most ghastly sight ever.
I did my number one and rushed out of the horrid field.
“Oh my God, what will I do when its number two?”
It was unfathomable to think of going back into the corn husks, and this time to squat. I am a tourist missionary after all!
For Mary, this was not a problem. That night with flashlight and toilet paper, she nonchalantly skipped back into the trees like Mel Gibson did in “ Signs”.
Ephesians 2: 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us,
God is rich in mercy! Hallelujah!
Reports came to us that the one choo, the only real toilet in Ndeda Island, would open for its first business day the next morning. Indeed this was a magical toilet!
All this transpired as we stepped onto the shores of the island. Such is the walk of faith, where God splits the Red Sea as you step into it. But, you must step into it!
For every visit to the magical toilet it was three Kenyan shillings, equal to two cents.
We woke early the next morning and proceeded up the hill to the potty with toilet paper in our hands. The entourage of kids caught glimpse of us and quickly assembled behind like ducklings.
What a sight! Two wzungu ( white people) toilet paper in hands, going to the choo, and trailed by twenty kids.
This choo was clean and fresh. We gave the lady who managed it our three shillings and were grateful to God for the rest of our visit to Ndeda Island.
This magical toilet is the rich man’s potty . Not many have the three shillings to spend on a choo and continued fancying the corn field potty.
As for me, I gave every member of our evangelistic team 21 shillings so they could relish seven visits to the Magical Mystery Toilet In the Corn Field Potty Tour.
And no, these are not strawberry, but corn fields, forever!