Two tales this week show the extraordinary lengths people will go to in order to get a loo.
A young girl in Dhanapur village in India went on hunger strike for two days to persuade her parents that they should build a toilet in their home. The 15 year old student said that she had learned at school about the importance of toilets, and hoped to end the embarrassing and dangerous practice of open defecation. The district where she lives is running a campaign to try and make it open-defecation-free by March 2017.
Elsewhere in India a married woman has mortgaged her bridal jewellery – important symbols of her status as a married woman – in order to construct a toilet. She has absolutely no regrets and went against the direct wishes of her husband and mother-in-law. Phulkumari Devi, of Barahkhanna village, said that “it is a shame for a woman to defecate outside”.
I’d say her husband was right in eventually conceding to her demands. Archana Gautam, a young woman in Khothawa village, is divorcing her husband for his continued refusal to have a toilet constructed. “I have been forced to make way to an open field every day under the cover of darkness to relieve myself. The owner of the land repeatedly insults me,” she said. Seriously, dude, just build your wife a toilet!