Chief field engineer, Rahel Kuenzle, has probably spent more time with the Blue Diversion Toilet than most people will spend with their respective thrones during an entire lifetime. But, like any anxious parent watching their child grow up and leave home for the first time, at one point she would have to release the blue beauty into the big bad world. That day finally arrived one sunny, hot morning in Mukuru. The previous months of early mornings, late evenings and many weekends spent by everyone involved in the project suddenly seemed to be weighing on us and the installation team quite heavily. Including all the nuts and bolts, there are over 300 individual parts of the toilet, so the potential for something to be displaced during a rough journey is quite high.
The toilet was loaded onto a handcart and dragged a mere two kilometres through the winding streets, underneath overhanging power lines and squeezed in between many kiosks. Rahel winced with each bump as she thought of all the potential parts that could be damaged. What would happen to the water filter system and all of the electronics linked that control the functioning of the toilet? After reaching the railway line that divides Mukuru Rueben and Mukuru Kwa Njenga, the transport team decided that it would be best to carry the toilet for the final leg of the journey by hand. These final few metres were only made possible by borrowing some gum boots to enable the team to walk through the muddy street that leads up to the installation site.
The toilet was installed next to the home of Joseph and his family. They have kindly agreed to use the Blue Diversion Toilet for a month and provide feedback on the functioning and features of the toilet. In addition, a series of tests will be conducted that will measure the quality of the recycled water and the power requirements of the toilet. Although the toilet hit some bumps it was installed successfully and is now fully operational. The successful installation means that Rahel went home with a big smile on her face when the toilet door finally swung shut.