According to Webster’s Dictionary a visionary among other things is an inspired individual. This definition resonates with me because as a culture we are in desperate need of such persons. Wouldn’t you agree that the Mars landing was an inspirational event? It was a stellar visionary enterprise within the milieu of our local stars.
I would like, however, to direct your attention to a visionary who is an earth-crust dweller much like ourselves. Her name is Sasha Kramer. Sasha Kramer has a doctorate from Stanford University in Ecology. She is from New York and her primal passion is “poop.” Yes, I said, “Poop.” In her own words: “I wasn’t thinking about the poop as poop. I was thinking about it as nitrogen. It made sense to me that, if I’m eating all this nutrient-rich food, then I’m producing all this nutrient-rich waste, and there must be some way to kill the pathogens and reuse the nutrients.”
Sasha Kramer made trips to Haiti as a volunteer human rights monitor after the coup that toppled the regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was in Haiti when she was in need of the basic necessity of a toilet and found that too to be scarce that it became clear to her how important a toilet was not only for health but also for human dignity.
That experience proved to be a visionary awakening for Sasha. In 2006 she completed her Ph.D and then co-founded SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods), and moved to Haiti and built public toilets from which the waste would be harvested and used in agriculture.
SOIL has built some 200 simple composting latrines in Haiti and once a week collects thousands of gallons of human waste. The waste is send to one of three composting sites where is it converted into pathogen free fertilizer. Sasha is eager to share her novel and boldly visionary idea with others. She is an inspiration. Sasha knows that”toilets may not be the sexiest sell on the planet…But if you go into a community and say, “You can be a part of changing the agricultural landscape of this country (Haiti), you can be apart of fighting hunger through using these toilets,…people get really excited.”
Our world needs more Sasha’s. Our world needs more positive visionaries such as she.