Some things speak for themselves; this requires a bit of explanation. If you are squeamish, please read no further. I don’t want to offend anyone.
The things that most affect the quality of life are often little ones and just as often things we rarely talk about. Bathroom issues score high on both counts. Those easily grossed out can skip the rest of my musing on this subject, but it is an important one.
We live pretty well on the FOB. We have an excellent chow hall and bathrooms that are fully functional, if a little constrained. This is not the case universally. If you are at one of the smaller bases, you are lucky to have one of those plastic port-a-potties and your chow is not so good and sometimes in short supply, at least the hot main courses. Sometimes you are not lucky enough even to get these luxuries and you are reduced to MREs (boxed meals you cook yourself) and “wag bag” toilets.
The wag bag is exactly what the name implies. You are allowed only to go #2, since otherwise the bag would be even grosser to handle and dispose of by burning. You can see from the picture that the facilities are makeshift plywood. It is not good.
As long as you are with me so far, I can also tell you that the local guys don’t use the sit down toilets at all. They prefer a hole in the ground. If you go to a local toilet, you see a porcelain hole with a couple of places to put your feet. It might still flush, but it doesn’t work well. We in the Western world owe a great debt to Thomas Crapper, who did so much to popularize the flush toilet we know and love.
We have a small but significant problem in our own facilities, as non-U.S. contractors prefer to squat on top of our toilets. They break the seats and that is why you see the incongruous sign, “do not stand on toilets” posted on the walls.
Above is just us going back to our convoy after a visit to one of the outlying posts.