IT’S NOT JUST A TOILET
By Vivian Maina
As a child, you probably at some point wished that you were an adult. Maybe you were tired of adults telling you what to wear, what to eat, when to eat, when to go to bed, why you should avoid certain company, why you should do your chores, the whole shebang. You were probably tired of not being in control. Heck, probably the only control you have had was the remote control when you were watching cartoons. And that too could be snatched away if there was breaking news.
However even as these instances may have been true, part of your best childhood experiences involved you playing with your friends, In school or at home. At times you may have even thrown caution to the wind by going to play instead of doing your homework.
You could’ve also been in that boring mathematics class and listened to the teacher say time and time again how easy multiplication was but your mind keeps wondering why that darn bell wouldn’t just ring so you could go to play.
Now I don’t know what school you went to but at mine, we had a big playing field. It was on that same field we had sports days where pupils who ran as fast as Usain Bolt were able to shine, even though they might not have done the same in their studies. We also had decent-sized classrooms. We may have been almost 60 pupils packed in a single room but we were happy nevertheless.
‘’ Of All Forms of Inequality, Injustice in Health is the Most Shocking and Inhuman’’
Martin Luther King (Jnr)
Well maybe except for the toilets which weren’t always clean. With some-artistic- pupils using poop to write on the walls, others clogging the toilet to the point of no return, some (in their pubescent age) not properly disposing of their sanitary products, it wasn’t the best, but at least we had toilets nonetheless.
So maybe it may come as a surprise to you that in this modern-day, in a world where we can actually have human beings fly out to space, we have schools WITHOUT Basic facilities as toilets and clean running water. Now if you’re the type of person who pees as frequently as you drink water, you might be wondering, “Okay, so where do the kids go?” In their school environment? Oh, don’t make that face. Don’t please because this is the reality. Maybe you’ve never realized that having a toilet in your house or workplace is something to be grateful for. It seems like such a trivial thing but for others, it’s a luxury they cannot afford.
So It’s not just a toilet!
Should they need to relieve themselves, they go to shrubs. The only time you’ve probably used a shrub as a toilet is when you were on a road trip with your family or friends. And you were pressed. And you kept having that thought that a snake might slither its way as you were doing your business and sting. You probably even had water for the show. Maybe even bottled water. You are spoilt for choice of water.
I’m sure you’re wondering, okay but what about the leaders? Can’t they use their government-allocated funds to do something nice? I won’t even answer this because you know just as well as everyone does that we’re smack in the middle of a Darwinian time.
Although even as that is true, there’s still some ray of hope in humanity. There are people who may not have their efforts being cheered on by Beyoncé, but they are still doing something nice, regardless. Because it’s not about getting recognition, but about transforming lives. You can actually do something about these pupils. They may not even know that you played a role in getting them clean water or even a toilet, but you will have transformed their lives and the pupils after them. It’s normal for human beings to get tired of giving. But even that little donation can go a long way.
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PHAAE is a registered non-profit organization in Nigeria that focuses on issues affecting women, adolescent girls and children in Africa.