Activity 5 – Journey to Manzanar: WOMEN’S LATRINE

The Women’s Latrine (Block 14) 

If you thought the living conditions couldn’t get any worse at Manzanar, they could.

There were two latrines (bathrooms) for each block, one for the women and one for the men. Manzanar National Historic site recreated the Women’s Latrine in Block 14  back in 2016. A latrine was essentially a room filled with 10 toilets, a sink, and some shower heads. That’s it. No stalls, no walls, no doors, no dividers, and certainly no regard for privacy. They shared this space with their entire block (hundreds of people) most of whom were strangers.

Going to the bathroom is one of the most sacred, private, and embarrassing things that humans have to do. In Manzanar, there was nothing sacred or private about it as all people had to use the bathroom in front of one another. This was an unavoidable part of camp life. When nature calls, there’s nothing you can do about it, and in camp that meant using the toilet in front of your neighbors, while they also used the toilet.

“My mother was a very modest person, and this was going to be agony for her, sitting down in public, in front of strangers.”  Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Farewell to Manzanar




Write a journal entry on how that kind of space to shower and go to the bathroom would make you feel. What would you do to help create some privacy for yourself? 


Journey to Manzanar Badge

How it works? This is a one of a kind patch created by a girl scout, but intended for everyone around the globe. Take part in 3 or more of the activities. Once you’re ready, click the button below and submit your work. A patch will be delivered to your door! We are grateful you’ve taken the time. What I hope more than anything is that you will tell others to take the virtual Journey to Manzanar, share what you’ve learned, and become an ambassador, like me, to this very important part of our American story.

Submit for a Patch Here!