Dream Life Chapter 9: “Rathmore Village Reform Plan (First): Toilet Reform”

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 First, there is the toilet.



 I have decided to make reforming the people’s habits when defecating, which everyone performs, the first step of the Rathmore Village Reform Plan.



 Some people may think that there are other things that have a higher priority.


 Normally, they would probably focus on improving the food situation of the villagers, or on measures to increase tax revenues. However, the food situation in this village is not bad.


 Moreover, the Lockhart family has never fallen short of tax revenue.



 The reason is simple.


 The reason is simple: the ruling Lockhart family does not need much in the way of taxes.


 The taxes that the Lockhart family levies are quite low. It is almost unbelievable.



 Most of the residents of the village of Rathmore are farmers.


 Although there may be times when the food situation worsens due to crop failures and the like, the low taxes can be used to stockpile food.


 Furthermore, some of the grain paid as tax is converted into cash, but most of it is stockpiled in the house. By releasing them in an emergency, villagers rarely suffer from starvation.



 There are two reasons for the low taxes.


 The first is that the Lockhart family and its squires are largely self-sufficient in providing for their own needs, and there is no need to forcibly collect taxes from the people of the fief.


 While nobles may have to spend a lot on clothing, meals, and other social expenses, the Lockharts, who are knights from the countryside and are commoners, have no ties to social circles and have no unnecessary social expenses, so there is no need to collect taxes beyond what is necessary.


 Secondly, the village does not have a well-developed monetary economy because peddlers come only twice a month. Naturally, the Lockhart family has no opportunity to spend cash, and there is no need to raise taxes that are paid in kind.



 Normal, straightforward use of tax revenues would be to improve infrastructure, such as road repairs, but in the village of Rathmore, where the infrastructure itself is not well developed, the villagers’ volunteer work almost always solves the problem.


 Some say that it would be better to improve infrastructure, but there are no needs on the part of the villagers.


 The next largest military expense would be to update the equipment of the Patrol Team in this peaceful village, but this would not amount to much, either, as the villagers would only be able to conduct periodic monster hunts. On the other hand, they earn cash income by selling the materials and magic stones of the monsters they have defeated.



 I don’t know the exact tax rate, but my estimate is that it is about 10% of their annual income.



 Despite the good food situation, it seems that the population of Rathmore Village has not changed significantly in the past ten years. This is because epidemics occur every few years, killing children and old people who are not resistant to the disease.


 Nicholas checked with me and found that the infant mortality rate is also high, with more than ten deaths per year. The number of children born in a year is about 30, so the mortality rate was more than 30%.


 Not all of the deaths were caused by the sanitation situation, but if we could at least instill the concept of hygiene in the villagers, I think we could protect the little ones.



 I decide to enter the office and regain my nerve while I go face my father.


 With my spirits up, I took a big gulp of air and began to speak, “I have a favor to ask of you, Father.”



“I would like to improve the bathrooms in our home.” (Zack)



 My father nearly slides off his chair at my unexpected words.



“To-toilets… is that the result of today’s inspection…” (Matt)



 I nodded profusely to my father, who managed to stutter out a few words.



“Yes, it’s a complex system, but there is a concept called ‘hygiene management’. This is the idea that by keeping the body and environment clean, the outbreaks of disease can be mitigated.” (Zack)



 My father raises his hands as if to say he has no idea.



Hygiene Management? Is there a relationship between cleaning one’s body and illnesses?” (Matt)


“Yes. The source of diseases is often found in filth. Especially in feces and urine, though there are many other sources of disease. When the source of disease enters the mouth, it can cause a stomachache or fever. An adult may only feel a little ill, but a small child may die from that alone.” (Zack)


“Really? Surely, kids have fevers all the time, but isn’t that normal?” (Matt)


“No. Every illness has a cause. It’s not necessarily from feces. It is not the cause of everything, but our current situation now is not good…” (Zack)



 I stressed to my father how unsanitary the mansion’s toilets were and how they could be a source of disease.



 As it is now, the excrement left outside is left to accumulate until it is washed away by the rain, and then it flows along the street and around the house with the rainwater.


 So far, there were no signs of sewage entering the well, but it could happen at any time.



 Furthermore, children grab things on the ground nonchalantly. If that ground is contaminated, and if they don’t wash their hands, then ……


 I don’t know how long E. coli and other bacteria can survive on the ground. However, given the situation in the village, I figured that a child could be exposed to the bacteria and become ill.



“So, we put a barrel or tub under the toilet to catch the excrement and dispose of it periodically.” (Zack)


“It’s all well and good to put a barrel there, but won’t it fill up quickly? And when you say dispose of it, what do you intend to do with such a mass of disease-causing feces?” (Matt)


“We bury what has accumulated in the barrels in holes we have dug away from the mansion. At that time, we will pour decaying fallen leaves from the forest and humus over the top. In this way, the excrement will decompose, the smell will disappear, and it will even turn into fertilizer that can be used in the fields… ” (Zack)



 What I suggested was using a bucket/barrel toilet and microbial decomposition.


 I vaguely remember, but there are a lot of microorganisms in the humus, which should promote decomposition, just like when making compost.



“We could clean up the current toilet area, but it might be quicker to build the toilet outside. We need to raise the floor to put the barrels or buckets in, and after this, we’re going to build similar toilets to spread around the village.” (Zack)



 When we inspected the village, I was observing how the villagers were doing their business.


 I was surprised to hear and see that they were doing their business outside their houses, in the grass in the fields, or under the shade of trees.



 My father seemed to have doubts about the idea of spreading the idea to the village, but he gave me permission to build it on the mansion grounds.


 I was given a piece of paper and writing utensils to draw a blueprint, and I climbed onto my father’s office desk and began to draw the plans.



(A quill pen and parchment paper, huh? It’s hard to write on, but I think I can make it work. I should borrow a knife to use instead of a ruler…) (Zack)



 While holding the pen, I drew the schematic in my head.



(The size is about two meters by one meter, and if the floor height is one meter, the height is about three meters… A barrel typically holds about 100 liters, so it would be too high, so perhaps a wide-mouthed tub would be better. It would be convenient if it is set up with a dolly from the beginning since it has to be put on a dolly to carry it… That way I should add a little more floor height…) (Zack)



 I struggle with my pen, which often gets stuck, and draw a three-view plan of the bathroom.


 Beside me, my father was looking at it with interest.



“How do you interpret that drawing? Ah, a drawing from the front, the side, and the top. I see…” (Matt)



 My father, who is clearly impressed, is a bit noisy, but in about 20 minutes I have a rough drawing done.


 And then I also write down the size of the holes, the structure of the vents, and notes on the material of the tubs.



“Here’s what it looks like, but I’ll leave the location to you. If possible, please make the same one near the servants’ homes.” (Zack)


“I understand, but I don’t know how to explain…” (Matt)



(That’s right. It’s impossible for this to be my father’s idea… maybe it’s better to come out to Walt and others …) (Zack)



“I have something to discuss with you, Father. I think it might be a good idea to tell my secret to our servants. That way I can explain it to them.” (Zack)



 My father thought for a moment, and muttered, “Well, maybe Nicholas is already aware.”



“Let’s talk to Father about it. If anything, it would be better to tell Bertram as well. I don’t want to spread the word too much, but the squires are family, too. Bertram can be trusted, too, given his friendship with Father.” (Matt)



 I guess my grandfather and father decided to tell my secret to the squires and their wives.


 The next day, the squires and their wives were summoned to the mansion, and my grandfather explained the situation in the hall.


 I was not invited, so I don’t know how they reacted, but I met Walt and Molly afterward, and they reacted as usual, and I relaxed my shoulders.


 But no matter who I met, it was the same as usual, which in turn raised questions in my mind.



(No matter how good Grandfather’s words are, wouldn’t it usually feel creepy? Their attitudes didn’t change at all though…) (Zack)



 My doubts were cleared up by Grandfather.



“All of our vassals thought there was something wrong with you. They had the same reaction as we did. Hahaha!” (Govan)



 My grandfather opened his mouth and laughed loudly.



(In the end, my acting was not good at all… good or bad… Did Mel and the others realize it too?) (Zack)



 My grandfather sees the serious look on my face. Apparently, he could see right through me,



“Matt will tell Rod when the time is right. You can tell Melissa and the others after that.” (Govan)



 I nodded my head and said, “I understand,” thinking that it would certainly be a poor idea to tell them before my brother, who is family.



 Walt and Nicholas were holding my drawings and discussing something.


 I watched from a distance, but I couldn’t help but notice



“Is there a problem? If there’s anything you don’t understand, you can always speak to me.” (Zack)



 Nicholas is a little surprised to be suddenly approached, but just as well, he asks for advice.



“We understand the plans, but we were wondering where we should build it. Walt says it should be on the north side where it won’t be noticeable, but I think it should be on the east side near the woods.” (Nicholas)



 Apparently, they were having trouble with the location of the installation.



“Maybe Walt’s idea would be better because the north side is closer to a water source to wash your hands. But don’t put it too close to the well. If it overflows during heavy rains, it could contaminate the water.” (Zack)



 They seemed to agree and decided on a place slightly down on the north side, about 10 meters from the mansion.



(I wonder who will be responsible for transporting the tubs and such. Also, will they hire someone from the village to do it?) (Zack)



 For the time being, the squires will work on it, and once they know how to do it to some extent, they will then spread the word to the villagers.



 The next day, Craig, a woodworker who also doubles as a carpenter, began construction.


 With the help of the squires, the outhouse was completed in just three days.



 As shown in the drawings, the floor height was about one meter, but because of the slope, the number of steps was only three.


 Since the importance of handwashing was also explained, a tub filled with clean water was placed next to the doorway. From the tub, one could scoop water with a ladle and wash one’s hands.



(I would like to be able to wash both hands, if possible, but the water supply is a problem. I’ll have to make some soap to wash my hands properly.) (Zack)



 I went around to the back and found that a path had been made where the manure tub was taken in and out, heading toward the horse stables. When we went to the stables, we found that a hole had been made next to the stables for disposal.


 According to Nicholas, they decided to do it here because of the smell of the stables and they did not mind if there was a slight increase.



(Well thought out. The road is also slightly downhill, so even a cart with a heavy tub can easily be pulled… Horse manure from the stables, huh? I’m sure those could be composted too.) (Zack)



 I tell them to collect the horse manure and cow manure in one place and cover it with humus as well.



(Maybe if we throw some earthworms in there, it will make a much healthier compost.) (Zack)



 Work also began on a toilet for the squires, which was completed three days later.


 The smell was no longer present in the house or in the yard and was well received by the family, who were puzzled at first.


 The only exception was on rainy days when the need to go to the trouble of putting on a rain cloak and getting one’s feet wet was unpopular.



(It’s more convenient to have one inside the house. Especially, since it would be difficult in the winter. But the farmers were outside even in the middle of winter. What do they do when it was raining?) (Zack)



 Incidentally, after old toilets in the compound were cleared, it was decided to build a winter toilet.



 After the improvement of the toilets in the mansion was completed, I gave further orders to my father and Nicholas, who was in charge of internal administration, for the dissemination of the information to the villagers.



“Along with the toilet reforms, I would also like you to make the following points known to all the villagers. First, the livestock manure should be collected and disposed of in the same way. Second, encourage them to wash their hands. In particular, always wash your hands before touching food. Third, do not allow infants and weak people to drink raw water, even if it is from a well. Always keep dishes clean. Clean injuries properly…” (Zack)



 I had written down the basics of hygiene beforehand and showed them to him as I explained the basics.


 The two men groaned, looking as if they had difficulty understanding what I was saying.



“I don’t understand any of this very well, is all of this necessary?” (Matt)



 In response to my father’s question, I said while nodding vigorously, “It’s all necessary!”


 Nicholas also groaned with a troubled look on his face, “Can we really put everything to practice immediately…?”



“You don’t have to do them all at once, but make sure you do the first two thoroughly. I think this alone will be substantial enough.” (Zack)



 In response to my confident explanation, my father and Nicholas began discussing how to inform the villagers, as if they had no choice.



 Thus began my plan to reform the village of Rathmore.



A/N: Finally, I started to do something that looked like internal administration, but I doubt if I can call this an internal administration cheat.


Well, like me, the main character is also quite prudent.


Normally, I would think that agrarian reform or making specialty products to increase tax revenue (salt, glassware, etc.) would be the first thing I would do, but I thought it seems a little off to start there…


I also thought of a dry composting toilet for the reform, but such types are very unfamiliar to the Japanese, so I decided to base them on the toilets in Edo (now Tokyo).


I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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