Since being in Pakistan my bowel movements have been as uniform as the stairs here – hate to be a critic as I would have no idea how to make uniform stairs in buildings but I think the Pakistani builders don’t either – even in 5-star hotels the stairs are at random increments/decent at best. Still it keeps things interesting and for me it is kind of like hiking – but inside!
Anyway back to the toilet… bowel movements is a good indication of how viruses, like polio, are spread in the developing world. Actually I think I can turn this into more of an aid and development story than a poo story. See last image for facts and credibility!
I have been extremely fortunate to spend a lot of time in developing countries learning so much about life, the challenges and the wonderful joys that come from greater sense of community, family and connectedness than we usually have in the ‘west’. But one of the challenges myself, any traveller and also any local resident faces are health and sanitation issues.
Don’t think ‘ah the locals are used to it’ because they are not immune to it – ask any local how their last month of faecal experiences were and I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any good news stories featuring the words – regular, uniform or my quiet alone time in the bathroom! And more likely for those who are less fortunate in these societies are stories of thousands of children dying each day due to diarrhoea.
While I am lucky enough to big, fit and healthy enough to eventually fight off or make friends with my amoebas, not everyone is in that position. Many don’t have access or enough money to get a lab test or the medication needed, let alone rehydration formula (1l clean water, 8t sugar, 2t salt) or for that matter clean water to keep them away from reinfection or adding to infection.
So my point here is the next time you have a thank-god-that-is-over with moment after pooing through the eye of a needle just remember it is a part of life that is common, not necessary and honestly a killer for many in the developing world.
Anyway time to go for a hike to the toilet on the 5th floor!
Happy World Toilet Day for last week!
Good footnote to this is the question of ‘Why put resources into vaccinating kids against polio when clean water is a bigger topic?’ and I am writing the response to it in my next blog – So, why polio? stay tuned for that…