THE SHENDAR TOILET

Though doing all things like cooking, weaving, eating and talking on the floor, the Shendar, having a high hygienic standard soon have invented the toilet named after them.

The Construction. The toilet meets all requirements needed for such a device: It is comfortable, the needed things easy to reach and it is easy to clean, or get rid of the disposals. The most important thing needed for it is the mil'no plant. As a plant adapted to half arid to arid conditions some varieties grow near every oasis or water hole and often in places without open water as well. Its young leaves are smooth and soft and have the ability to suck in water drops immediately. The main characteristic however is its very strong fragrance and sterilizing properties. Even in dried state it has a very strong, though not unpleasant smell - the older the leaves, the stronger it is. This plant is harvested by the Shendar in regions like the mountains around Nirmenith or the Yar'Dangs north of Strata where it grows in abundance and is dried by the Shendar for later use.

The toilet itself: It is possible to sit on a construction of planks, which are planed very smoothly, oiled and then impregnated with the juice of the mil'no plant. These planks lay on four stools constructed with three sticks each, two longer and a short one, about half a palm thick and bound together with leather bands. The planks can be fixed to this stools, but removed easily as well, to be cleaned or replaced if needed. Under these planks, in the right place, a wide bucket is positioned, consistingt of thick leather with a wide opening.

In the simple version one sits on the first, broader plank and holds on the other, smaller one in order not to fall into the bucket. An even more comfortable variation has two additional small boards, 90 degree to the two main ones, loosely fixed, which can be adjusted to the desired width: Sitting there is in fact very comfortable.

On bottom of the bucket is a layer of sand, followed by a thin layer of dried mil'no plant. Between the left two stools a smaller bucket is hanging with fresh leaves for cleaning purposes. These leaves are for cleaning the backside. When finished the excrements are covered with dried leaves of the mil'no plant and then all is covered with some sand provided in an extra bucket hanging between the right two stools. The buckets are emptied and cleaned as often as required, the debris buried away from the water but in reach of the roots of a plant.

The mil'no tent contains a bowl, a jug with fresh water with a few very young mil'no leaves swimming in it to clean face and hands and a bucket for the used water as well. When available the icemilk is used as well for flavoring the water and adding a refreshing component.

History. The mil'no plant is in use as far back the Shendar can think. The toilet itself evolved over the time from a simple save place inside the housings to the comfortable form of today over a long period of time.

First the Shendar looked for relief as many do still today somewhere outside their camp. But with the dangers of the desert night with snakes, scorpions, desert lions and other predators on the hunt first women held their kids inside and provided them a place where to go if this special need arose.

This was imitated by the whole society after some time and a place inside the camp was separated for this purpose. It was in the beginning simply a hole in the ground, which was covered with sand - and already mixed with the dried mil'no plant.

But after a time it was clear that when returning to the same place or water hole it was not always possible to avoid the place where the last mil'no hole had been and so the Shendar started with buckets inserted in a hole in the sand. These could be removed and emptied at an appropriate place.

Though this was a big improvement, the mess around the bucket, which wasn't possible to avoid in every case brought forward the idea or solution to this problem. With the bucket placed exactly where it was needed, possible if sitting better above it, the Shendar toilet was invented already some hundreds of years ago by a man whose name isn't remembered by now, but he isn't forgotten...

Information provided by Talia Sturmwind View Profile