The reason for World Toilet Day

Working in a news room, we get to see and hear some of the funniest things, and sometimes read hilarious press releases.

This was the case when the subject of an email read ‘…this World Toilet Day’. World Toilet Day takes place on November 19.

Your mind instantly wonders ‘how is it possible to celebrate something such as a toilet?’

To me I was instantly reminded about my time spent in a very small fisherman’s village in the Western Cape.

In the short period of time that I lived there I had the opportunity to work for a non-profit project. This project was aimed at helping Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres register.

This took me into the local informal settlement, where we worked with an amazing group of people.

The one day I had to visit a centre and see how they were using the resources that the project gave them.

One of these resources was a plastic tub, which was to be filled with sand and used as a sandpit.

On checking where the tub is and what it was used for, I was shocked to find the tub filled with sand and what I first thought was water.

This tub was in the back room of a shack. The shack had a hole in the roof, so of course it was normal to think that this could have been rain that filled the tub.

When my inspection took me closer, it was clear by the smell that this was not the case. The fluid in the tub was not only water, but I assume that the pee pots have also been emptied in this tub.

Needless to say my stomach could not handle this discovery, luckily I was able to keep my pose (sort of) while I made a plan to have it cleaned.

There was no bathroom, thus no indoor plumbing, and also no taps. This led me to asking the translator working with me where her mother’s house is and if we could wash the tub there. She was glad to help.

It must have been a sight to see. The two of us walking with this tub between us: me trying to keep my breakfast in and her probably wondering if and when I will not be able to keep my pose anymore.

These are fond memories. I learnt so much from this small town and its amazing people, and now I am in a position to truly understand and respect something as wonderful as World Toilet Day.