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Thankful For...Toilets?

We all acknowledge that we have received much in this life. As Thanksgiving approaches, our list of things to be grateful for grows longer and longer. What’s on your list?

Family, friends, steady work, a church community?

How about a toilet?

If that didn’t make your thankful-for list, you’re probably not alone. But “World Toilet Day” was a few days ago, and it got us thinking. It sounds a bit profane, but where do children registered in our programs go when they have to go?

Here are a few photos that represent many of the facilities Mission of Mercy children may use at home or school: 

From left to right, children in the Dominican Republic may use a more primitive stall, or they may have access to an improved toilet system such as the one in the middle. Some homes may have an actual commode, but whether or not it is connected to plumbing is debatable. The porcelain may simply disguise a pit toilet below.

  

Half-a-world away from each other in terms of geography and construction, these two bathrooms illustrate the difference in the facilities between home and school. The stall on the left is near a river in Haiti, which may be one of the reasons for the cholera outbreak -- what happens with the waste is hugely important.

On the right, an improved structure in the Philippines ensures the waste sees a proper disposal. Children who attend Mission of Mercy programs likely have access to better facilities at school than they do in their homes or communities. In some instances, our programs provide the only sanitation service for an entire village.


Yet another shocking comparison: these facilities are both located in Cambodia and show the difference between a more rural program and those located closer to a city. On the left, a toilet on the Mechrey Floating School. Since this photo was taken, we have been able to improve the facilities to ensure the waste does not add to the pollution in the Tonle Sap lake, which many families rely on to fish for food and bathe.

Maybe it's not a fair compare these two; on the right, a brand new system for one of our programs that also offers accomodations for older students who are pursuing further education in Cambodia. Still, this photo shows the pride many communities and programs show in the types of facilities they make available to their students.

The way many communities handle their waste varies widely -- there are some methods, one of which is called the flying toilet and is as disgusting as the name may indicate, which we seek to improve upon wherever possible.

That's one thing for which we are truly grateful: thanks to your support, we can improve the services available to most of the communities in which we work while also teaching the children valuable hygiene lessons they can pass on at home. All of this adds up to better health, all around!  

 

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