Amanzi lived in a toilet bowl in a cozy little bathroom in a house in Muyenga. Every day, she would watch as the humans came and went, flushing her friends down the toilet, never knowing where they went. Every time Amanzi would see a human reaching out for the toilet handle, she would grab onto the sides of the float. These would always shield her from being flushed down with the others. Her friends Omi and Mvura, were always her companions in their repeated act of cowardice. They were afraid of the unknown world beyond the toilet bowl.
With each day that passed, Amanzi became more curious as to what lay beyond the comfort of the toilet. She suggested to Omi and Mvura that they should try getting flushed down the toilet. However, the two were very reluctant and turned her down. After days of constantly berating them about the same issue, Omi and Mvura finally gave in to Amanzi’s demands. So, when the next human flushed, Amanzi and her friends held themselves tightly together and went along for the ride of a lifetime.
As Amanzi and her friends flowed down the sewer pipes, they encountered various obstacles such as bends, junctions, and manholes. These were a pesky hindrance as they kept scratching the three friends, as they made their way through the vast network of pipes and sewers that snaked beneath the town. They were also constantly being hit by the various debris that was moving along with the water. However, they persevered and eventually arrived at the wastewater treatment plant.
Amanzi was amazed at the sight of the massive treatment plant. It was a complex network of pipes, tanks, and machines that worked together to clean the water. The first stage of the treatment process was called screening. Amanzi and her friends, along with the other water flowed through a screen that removed large objects like sticks, rags, and plastic bags. The remaining water then flowed into a grit chamber where the sand, gravel, and other heavy particles settled to the bottom. Amanzi remarked to Omi how she felt cleaner when she rubbed against the rough surfaces of the rocks. She also felt much lighter.
The next stage of the process was called primary treatment. The wastewater was sent to a primary settling tank where the suspended solids and organic matter settled to the bottom. The sludge that formed was pumped to a separate tank for further processing. The treated water was then sent to a secondary treatment process where it was further cleaned. Omi and Amanzi were sad to be separated from some of the solid particles. However, Mvura was glad for the separation and said good riddance to bad rubbish.
The secondary treatment process used a biological method to remove organic matter and nutrients from the water. The wastewater was sent to aeration tanks where bacteria were added to consume the organic matter. The bacteria broke down the organic matter and converted it into carbon dioxide. Amanzi found these bacteria terrifying.
She had never encountered such strange looking creatures whose mind was only set on consuming. However, they were harmless and after they came, the tank became more spacious for her and her friends. They were then sent to another settling tank where the bacteria and other solids settled to the bottom. The treated water was then sent to a disinfection tank. Amanzi was glad to leave the bacteria behind. Omi had become friends with a number of them, and so leaving them behind was a bitter sweet memory for him. The disinfection process used chemicals like chlorine or ultraviolet light to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses in the water.
Amanzi and her friends were shocked by the liquid which pierced through them, leaving them different. However, they found this more tolerable, as it glowed through them making them feel a bit hotter than before. Amanzi and her friends were amazed by the entire process. They had never seen anything like it before. They had always assumed that once they were flushed down the toilet, they would disappear forever. But now they knew that they could be cleaned and recycled. Amanzi, her friends and the rest of the water then passed through a dark pipe into a large area that had more water. The natives of this land told them that they were in a channel heading to the Lake!
As the water flowed downstream, it passed through different parts of the river ecosystem. It passed by aquatic plants, fish, and other aquatic animals. The water was essential for their survival. The fish swam in the water, eating algae and other small creatures. The plants absorbed nutrients from the water and provided oxygen for the fish to breathe. It was a delicate balance, and any pollution or contamination could upset the ecosystem. The three friends were amazed by the wonderful life that they saw outside the toilet cistern. They also felt a sense of responsibility. They knew that they were part of a larger system, and they had to do their part to keep it clean. They knew that the people in the town had to do their part too. They had to be mindful of what they put down the drain. They had to dispose of their waste properly and avoid flushing non-biodegradable materials.
Amanzi and her friends continued their journey back into the lake. Amanzi, Omi and Mvura smiled for they now knew that overcoming their fear of going down the toilet, had blessed them with an adventure of a lifetime. They shouted “Home Sweet Home”
By: Dr. John Kwon
8M Creative Writer