I am a student at the Richmond Vale Academy situated in St. Vincent and Grenadines and I will share my story with you about manure up to now (5 months). Collecting horse manure with bare hands is a sign of personal change for me! Yes, manure is natural gold but holding it with bare hands and then putting it into sacks by holding, maybe sometimes by smelling it is a little bit weird. Don't worry my friends I have gloves and shovels but sometimes I prefer not to use them and if I propose to pick-up manure with bare hands, it is not for fun or hobby; it is about…
- What does poop mean in human civilization; is it a disgusting and shameful secret that we refuse or hide its existence? Or is it just a normal, simple, accepted biological process for us? Humans generally refer to poop as a negative phenomenon and caricature its presence and actually as a rule, hate poop.
- We attribute the following properties to poop: it smells extremely strong, sharp and it is absolutely a dirty waste. Disgust, according to Charles Darwin, is one of the six most basic, universal emotions. The facial expression of it, which by some measures is recognizable across cultures, involves the wrinkling of the nose combined with a frown. This outward expression is accompanied by inner physiological changes like lowered blood pressure, reduced skin conductance and nausea.
- Relevant with disgust, famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud argues that emotion of disgust arouse from reaction against poop. Only one moment imagine the hunter-gatherer human belonging to a small primitive group in ancient, free, unknowable ages, who came across with huge, brown, shapeless poop among bushes or around his home. Then considering Sigmund Freud's argument guess what was this hunter-gatherer human's first physical or psychological respond was to poop.
- Social psychologist Eric Fromm asks why we are disgusted by other humans' poop, although we are used to our poop, in his book called the Art of Love, and says that selfishness firstly must have originated from denying others' poop.
We can tolerate our poop and even, with a silent shame are able to believe that our poop is different than others' poop because it's our own poop. He associates beginning root of nationalism with denying others' poop and adds underlying the reason of many discrimination are to apply double standard between our poop and others' poop.
There is a self-sustainable system called "common action" at the Richmond Vale academy. It takes place twice-weekly, between 8: 45 am and 11: 30. We, as students, teachers, headmaster - all of us, work these hours in school's gardens and fields. The goal is to maintain the school, for instance we provide plenty of our vegetable requirements from there: Banana field, Fruit forest, Organic garden, Kitchen garden. Additionally there are beautiful horses in their own special area. During common action, I work both in the Banana field and to collect manure for the gardens.
- According to a strange historical, speculative, popular legend, perfume was invented to prevent heavy poop's smell in cities which don't have a good sewage system. Today modern settled urban mindset tries concealing two vital truths from itself; one of them is graveyard another is poop.
- Graveyards consciously are being designed far away from cities because societies don't want to remember death because mortality is not an elegant trend and doesn't promise forever pleasure and is not appropriate with political elections, states, flags, stock market, wars, arrogance, profit, money, unusual ambitions and doesn't care about endless consumption habits; such as buying new clothes, cars, houses, journey tickets, advanced technology devices; computers, iPhone cellphones.
- As for the other urban taboo, poop is regarded as a hygienic enemy which is required being destroyed. Society declares fighting against dirt and according to it one of the main dirt is poop. Rules of struggling with poop:
- A-Children are to be taught in schools how to stay away from poop because it's deadly dangerous.
- B- Chemical sprays, materials and substances have to be produced in order to remove from everywhere poop and its smell. Regardless of all topics above, what is poop scientifically? Poop is a normal part of the digestive process and consists of waste products that are being eliminated from the body. It may include undigested food particles, bacteria, salts, and other substances. As long as there is living animals and humans, there will be poop. And science says poop is not so bad thing.
Firstly I was collecting manure with gloves and shovel. During 4 months I kept this style. I was complaining and being disgusted due to this task. But then as time went by I started to sometimes do it with bare hands because I discovered one obvious thing that horse manure is just used grass! Of course I knew as a technical information what is manure but as a feeling not. Maybe our evolutionary inability is to be unable to understand knowledge until feeling that knowledge.
- Let's discuss in terms of the position and importance of poop in the ecosystem, poop contributes largely to the nutrient cycle. The nutrient cycle made up of many biochemical circles helps the organic and inorganic elements of the ecosystem in the generation of living matter.
- Poop provides nutrients necessary for organisms to grow to survive and decompose. The organic nutrients; carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen can be obtained effectively from the poop. In absence of oxygen, poop can be converted to biogas.
- Biogas is a renewable form of energy. It is an alternative to the fossil fuels that destabilize the ecosystem. In the bigger picture, poop helps maintain the balance within the ecosystem. Human poop is not frequently used for manure as animal poop. But it's been common practice for centuries. Poop is a miracle of life!
As a consequence, my purpose of picking-up or touching manure with bare hands is not for fun or hobby; it's about making peace with nature. It's about feeling nature and understanding that I'm part of nature and it's about purifying, healing my brains against prejudice related to all aspects in my life.
As the Headmaster of Richmond Vale Academy once told me: "don't be afraid of it, it is just grass. Grass!"