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bathroomdo not be fooled by the beautiful photo – the stench and mold enveloped the toilet

“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you.” – PAULO COELHO

Do you ever feel like you are doing something to punish yourself?

Do you ever justify why  you are doing something?  And in retrospect understand there is more to it and you have simply been kidding yourself?


I am an avid tourist, wanderer, culture vulture and woman. I have come to india for work … and travel …. and transition.


I am not religious, I do yoga, I am a privileged white female and I do not think I can save the word! So what the fuck am I doing here?


Every day I see men and children shitting or peeing on the side of the road, sewage clogged or  blocked or bubbling open drains running between houses, on the side of the street or just in the middle of nowhere.


I see people living in squalid conditions beside new cement square houses, trash fluttering in the wind everywhere and every day every moment try to ignore it. But I think I have hit the proverbial wall.


Yesterday I got the shits in the market – first question where is the toilet? Not only do I not speak hindi but there seems to be only 1 toilet for 1000’s of people. There are more temples, idols, shoe shops, sari shops than fucking toilets.

slumWomen
Finally I was shown the way – it was the stench that got me first. Believe me this was not the worst toilet I have been to  – but the damp monsoon rain, lack of anything other than a hole in the floor and putrid stench got me. And where were all the people – 1000’s outside and none here? About 60% of Indians do not have access to a toilet – the percentage is higher for women.

poorFamily
Ooops I had forgotten toilet paper. My guess there is more to the problem than the fact that the people are illiterate. The toilets are disgustingly unusable. – I wouldn’t use them. 


Every morning I sit on the balcony of my AC hotel room, drinking instant coffee (the university is behind schedule  – that means not built yet so I am living in an hotel) and watching a man push a rusty bike along a thick muddy track with 4, 5 gallon dirty white plastic dangling containers  – bringing  what I assume is undrinkable dirty water from somewhere to a pathetic lean to (tin plastic, wooden poles and packets of junk food) – a shop for the pilgrims to snack at. He does it over and over again. And that is the start of my day.

dryingClothes
Don’t get me wrong, I am astounded and fascinated by the Indian culture. I love the color, I am intrigued by the Hindu culture, and the food is good. But the disconnect is bewildering and astonishing. 

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2 thoughts on “Where are all the toilets?

  1. Ahhhhh. The in-your-face-reality of poverty in the global south. It can be so overwhelming and overpowering. Keep documenting this my friend – something beautiful is going to come out of you because of it.

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