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World Toilet Day

Toilet Stories

Submitted on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 10:33

Toilets - everyone has a story to tell about these. The World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia online communications team reflects on global sanitation issues and their personal experiences on World Toilet Day.

Up to the Knees, Down to the Knees
John Mackedon (USA), Online Communications Officer

“Up to the knees – down to the knees.” Though nonsensical the first time I heard it, this mantra soon defined the five years I lived in the country, Georgia. Growing up in the United States had allowed me to remain ignorant of one of the most critical topics in the global health discourse: unsanitary toilets.  This ignorance soon turned to shock, dismay and finally, acceptance, as I mastered rolling up pants and perfected a mean squat.

With World Toilet Day upon us, I reflect on this transformation and my thoughts go out to anyone around the world who is denied access to such a fundamental need.  I think back on some of most unsavory locations I have encountered over the years and am acutely aware that even today, someone might consider that an unknown luxury. I hope there comes a day when “up to the knees – down to the knees” seems as unfamiliar to anyone in the developing world as it once did to me.