Juan’s Traveling Bathrooms

Juan Reyes remodeled a truck to contain ten cubicles with toilets and even a shower. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Marcelo Hernández, Güira de Melena, 22 March 2019 — Juan Reyes was born in Santiago de Cuba but for the last seven years he has been touring the island chasing popular festivals. He drives a striking truck that has been adapted to contain a dozen individual bathrooms where cleanliness reigns and no bad odors are perceived. This week he arrived at the Potato Festival, in Güira de Melena, and his services attracted more customers than many of the festival’s own kiosks with food or fun products.

Reyes came up with the idea after seeing the difficulties that his wife suffered to find a decent bathroom at carnivals. Most of the time there was nothing more than a box placed over a sewer, stinky and without privacy. Immediately, this Santiagan with a great ability for business saw an almost untapped market niche. He bought the truck and began the process of converting it into a mobile sanitary service.

He created a drainage mechanism with a wide flexible hose that allows the sewage to be evacuated into the nearest sewer system. He added removable steps that is placed so that customers can easily access the interior of the vehicle and invested in some amenities so that “it does not resemble those dirty bathrooms with no personality,” he says. In addition to the immediate relief of the bladder, Reyes’ “invention” puts a smile on every face.

Now the “Ecological Bathroom” as he jokingly baptized it on one side in white paint, is a family business. At the entrance, Juan’s son charges 2 CUP per person (roughly 8¢ US) and inside each cabin there is water, soap, toilet paper and a mirror. In the last cubicle there is also a shower for those who want to cool off from the heat.

At the moment the service is exclusively for women but its owner does not rule out having a fleet of trucks where there is also space for men and mothers with small children who want a place to change diapers and breastfeed with tranquility.


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