We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Toilet Day

So do you spend a penny, water the flowers, have a jimmy or just relieve yourself? Or as we've heard here in Tanzania, go to make a report? Do you go to the john, the WC, the loo, lavatory or latrine? Did you know that Wednesday, November 19th is WORLD TOILET DAY? It sounds a bit funny, but it's no laughing matter and definitely a message that needs to go out. The aim of World Toilet Day is to draw attention to the fact that billions of people in the world lack access to good sanitation. And this huge sanitation problem is causing thousands of deaths. According to WaterAid, around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation – that's almost 2,000 children a day.

Now, I can't say that I really think that people all over the world participating in a Big Squat at noon on Wednesday is going to completely solve the problem, but it can't be a bad idea to let people know about the situation.

Louisa "squats" in a toilet seat!
Many of you who read our blog know about the sanitation situation as we personally have seen it here in Tanzania through the work that Emmanuel International has been doing in the Iringa region with the WaSH projects and also through the fundraising that Amisadai and Louisa did earlier this year for the rural island community health projects. We see firsthand the sad effects of poor sanitation here. And we also see the wonderful results from improved sanitation!

Poor Sanitation ...

It's easy to see here how poor sanitation breeds disease
Village school toilets
Village home toilet

Improved Sanitation ...

New toilet blocks (EI Iringa)

Inside cubicle
New concrete toilet blocks, with hand washing similar to the tippy tap idea
Outside the new toilet
Last week we were able to attend a volunteers' meeting of Dr. Makori's organisation, (Rural Island Community Health). It was such a delight to report to them on the money raised through the SODIS Shake and Water Walk Fundraiser for healthcare on the islands! They were extremely grateful and send their thanks to all those who generously gave. We are excited about working more with Dr Makori on community health projects. As well as medical care, community health education is something so desperately needed as a means of preventing so many of the problems and illnesses and deaths that we see here. Basic education in health and sanitation. Basic things like toilets and hand washing. Basic things like drinking clean water.
Volunteers Island Community Health Meeting
It was exciting to hear from Dr Isaac at the meeting that people on Kome Island are latching onto the idea of SODIS-treating their water. People have been coming to the clinic to find out how to do it after the word has been spreading since our teaching on it in the health clinic back in March. Dr Isaac was curious to find out for certain for himself and tested some of his own treated water at the clinic - the result was pure water! He now has bottles being treated on the roof of the clinic! Quite a number of people have come to tell Dr Isaac that treating their water is working and their families do not have so much sickness now! That was so encouraging! Prevention first is better than needing a cure later! It is so simple and so basic, but the effects are amazing!

So thank you! And if you would like to further support the health work on the islands, or raise some funds in a fun way in honour of WORLD TOILET DAY, let us know and we can put you in contact with Dr. Makori! Please help us share the scoop on sanitation!

A few more facts from WaterAid. Did you know that... 
Every year, around 60 million children are born into homes without access to sanitation.
More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet.

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