Sure, plant a tree for Arbor Day … but start an arbor loo? For those
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living in a rural third world nation, this is a solution to several problems.
I love mission work, especially when it overlaps with my nursing background. While exploring
various options to blend my desires and skills in a far-flung field, I came upon directions to build an Arbor Loo. With very little effort or cost there is great benefit. The gist of it is to dig a pit and cover it with a cement top with a large keyhole centered in it, then begin to fill it with recycled food (umm, the nursing term is excrement), wood ashes and leaves.
When the pit is near full, the cover is removed and reused over another pit. The old pit is topped off with more leaves and ashes and topsoil. Then a tree (or fruit-bearing vine) can be planted in the topsoil. Voila! An arbor loo — a tree toilet! Over the years, those living in rural poor areas can plant many healthy, fruit-bearing trees to feed people, provide shade and restore the water table of the area.
So, this Arbor Day season, don’t just plant a tree, partner with a missionary in a developing nation and plan for an arbor loo or two. You will not only have a well-fertilized tree and improve sanitation; the best benefit is halting the spread of disease. If you start now, your tree may be planted on November 19 to celebrate World Toilet Day. Yes, there really is such a “holiday.” I think it is destined to become one of my favorites.
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When not planning a mission trip, Lynn Sue Pierce (RN, BSN, PN) enjoys helping things grow in her garden. She recently assisted in starting a small group focused on gardening, Gatekeepers Garden Club. She attends Northgate FMC, Batavia, and travels with her husband, Northeast Region Superintendent Mitch Pierce.