Sanergy, East Africa

Life has been challenging. It’s improving now, but it’s been tough. I have lived in Mukuru for 20 years. When business was good, I took out a loan to buy land and build a home for me and my four children. I sell vegetables at the market, but it’s very tough work.

To get the best prices, you have to be at the market very early in the morning. I would be up at 2 a.m. when it’s very, very cold, then I would keep my shop open until 10 at night. And, of course, you have to keep your vegetables clean, so I would be using cold water all day, until I fell ill with pneumonia.

I had to start renting out rooms in my home to help pay off my loan and earn a living. We had to use a pit latrine because I couldn’t afford a toilet. I hated it because maggots starting to come out of it. They were all over. The latrine would overflow and made my house very messy. No one fell sick, but I worried for my family. The tenants wouldn’t say anything, but they suffered through it. When they couldn’t take it anymore, they would move out.

It was a tough situation to live in for my family, for my tenants, for me.

I had seen one of Sanergy’s Fresh Life toilets in my neighborhood. Shortly after, I met one of Sanergy’s employees, who told me how I could purchase a toilet and become an operator. I became a Fresh Life operator in 2014.

Now that I have a Sanergy toilet, people don’t move out anymore. They take personal responsibility to keep it clean. Even if they find it messy, they will do whatever is needed to keep it clean, adding water, soap, hand wash. They feel very comfortable now. I feel very comfortable. I also am grateful I can leave my kids at home knowing they have a safe space to go. It gives me peace of mind and comfort.

Josephine, 69, is a mother of four and has been a Fresh Life operator for Acumen investee, Sanergy, since 2014.

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