Saturday, November 22, 2014

Everyone should have a latrine

New Malawi. Everyone should have a latrine.

That was the text message I got from UNICEF on my cell phone this morning. There are a lot of health issues in Malawi and other developing nations, and with the poor infrastructure it is always a challenge to get the public health messages out. NGOs have started working with local cell phone companies to get the word out through text messages. It only costs money to send texts here-- receiving texts is free. Not everyone has a cell phone yet, but even in remote villages you will find many people with them. And those people can share the messages with others.

UNICEF also sent a message a while ago that read, "Washing hands with soap at critical times, helps protect your family from germs that cause diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid and pneumonia."

Both of these messages are important to get out here in Malawi. During PST I attended a ceremony honoring our Village Headman for his work with the Open Defecation Free League. In many areas of Malawi people still defecate out in the open. Also, washing hands after defecation is an issue here due to the lack of running water and people being unable to afford soap. When they do buy soap, the priority is to use it for washing clothes and dishes. So there is still a lot of work to be done.


  1. The cookie reminds me of the lovely imported shortbread cookies we might have at an grandparent's house. Good reason to go for a visit!

  2. People just drop a load like on the side of the road?

    One time i was walking with my host niece and she had to go to pee, so that's exactly what she did...she went to the side of the road and peed.

    Just goes to show how incredibly different social taboos can be around the world!

    1. No, not on the side of the road thank goodness. But some people don't have latrines so they would defecate wherever was available.

      Peeing is another matter. Lots of peeing by the side of the road. And kids will just drop their drawers and pee while talking to you. --S