Sunday, February 8, 2009

The other WTO

Recently, I have been reminded of a program that I watched last year. Its called Kenny's World and is a sort of travel program featuring toilets around the world. It was there that I heard about the other WTO, the World Toilet Organisation. Did you know that there is actually an annual World Toilet Summit?

If you live in the developed world, this may not be something that you need to think about. But let me assure you, when you're in the developing world, you must make plans when you leave the house. In addition, the situation is exacerbated in the developing countries because it is more likely that you'll eat something your body doesn't agree with.

Take Palembang for example. If you're on the road, on the way somewhere, there would be almost NOWHERE to stop if you needed to go. There aren't a whole lot of petrol stations around and even if there was, they aren't pleasant. There are only 3 malls and they are probably the place that you're on your way to. And even if you were IN the mall, the toilets there usually have a queue a mile long.

The other day, I saw my first public toilet by the road and it just adds to my fears. As it is, my anxiety levels have already reached the stage where I try not to have a drink for an hour before we leave.

My family and I have a whole collection of hilarious toilet stories from our travels around Asia but really, its a very serious problem. It is estimated that 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation. Thats nearly 40%!

I don't have to drive very far from our home in Palembang to see that there are plenty of houses here that still use an outhouse. I just hope I won't have to try one out someday.


Bilbo said...

That's good information for a fellow like me who knows where every public bathroom within fifty miles of home is located. The lack of facilities is a real problem, though, and it isn't funny. If there aren't public toilets and people ... um ... do their thing wherever they need, it contributes to dysentery and other unpleasant things.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

That's worrisome for anyone going to Asia. Here's to the WTO!

Mike said...

Kenny seems to be out of business. There are sites that mention his videos but say they are no longer available.

Wv - notich - There is not a tich to be found.

Amanda said...

Mike - I couldn't find any video links to Kenny's world either. It too bad because it really was a fun TV Show. Informative yet funny.

Kaylen said...

Yes--spread the word about the need for public toilets!! I lived in South Korea for 14 months and walking around the city at night with no idea where I am was not half as scary as going to use a public restroom in the old part of town.

Most men that I came across just went on the side of the road, but the women would go in these dirty little cavern like places that were never ever cleaned.