Have you found out that this is something that is so important but so less talked about because people are afraid of losing face when shit is mentioned?
According to studies and media reports, Cambodia among the Southeast Asian countries, still sees the lowest rate of toilet coverage, and twos has inevitably caused transmitted disease, environmental issues, and hindered economic development in the kingdom.
Let’s put a stop to this, shall we? And, can we?
We are all adults who make decisions every day. Why cannot we make a decision to keep our latrine or toilet clean or build an affordable near our house? Or, ask our close or distant family members to do it? Or, tell neighbors to build one?
I know that it is easier said than done, but do remember that latrine builders can be found in any community either in rural or urban areas. Houses, pagodas, schools, and other institutions should have at least one latrine so that others can use it with dignity.
Most of the studies about latrine use in rural Cambodia you can find on the Internet point out that actually the fact that many families out there in the country still do not have a toilet comes from their perception. They think that a toilet is expensive to build, and it is hard to maintain. It is a lot easier for people to just go to bushes or say, in the backyard to do it. But, people forget that open defecation is very dangerous and can spread diseases very easily.
Okay, I know this. Though we cannot make people build toilets overnight, we can at least keep our family members and relatives aware of the importance of pooping in a safe and clean latrine.Hey, I feel the need to provide reality on the ground. If you have traveled to small villages and remote areas in Cambodia, you will find it difficult to find a decent latrine. You have to resort to using bushes and green leaves to do the job. I am not generalizing this, but I hope you understand that this is our big challenge. However, not many people have openly discussed this yet.
It makes them lose face, yes, it does. Having a toilet in a village is considered as a cool thing sometimes. Some families still do not realize that it does not cost an arm and a leg to have a latrine built!
Here is an interesting video that tries to promote the use of latrine in the country. My mom has seen it, and echoed her agreement with the video. That’s because when she attends weddings in countryside, a shortage or absence of latrine is visible. Some people might have different reactions towards the video, but for me, it showcases the real situation that always happens in the countryside. Yes, the skirt smeared with shit after the lady (groom’s mother) decided to relieve herself there — this hits the nail in the head.
Watch this video to understand more about this common yet serious issue facing Cambodian people.
I would say, do not be embarrassed about convincing your family members and friends who live far away to build a toilet and keep it clean always. Be it water or toilet paper. And, be it a squat toilet or not, many Cambodians I guess still enjoy squat toilets which I heard can help you defecate better, too.