When was the last time you went to the bathroom? Where did you go to the bathroom? If you answered in a toilet, a latrine, or you buried it in your backyard, you’ve just fulfilled one of God’s commandments. What a mitzvah!
I know you’re probably thinking, “what in the world is this lady talking about?” But I’m serious! In Deuteronomy 23:13-14, God tells his people “you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement…your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you” (NASB).
FH with partner organizations helped Rafaela Herrera School in this community gain access to clean water and working latrines.
Even back then, God commanded his people to bury their waste. Though they may not have understood the purpose for the commandment at that time, we understand it’s importance now. Leaving waste exposed in areas where you live is an extreme health hazard. This may be common sense to people in the U.S., but not everyone around the globe knows this. In fact, the UN says that half of the human population does not have a clean, safe or private place to go to the toilet. That is why Food for the Hungry teaches people how to build and use latrines. Believe it or not, this program crosses over health and biblical worldview.
How Latrines Save Lives
Whether it’s building community latrines that can service more than 200 people each day, or showing people how to build small latrines in their backyard, people are becoming healthier from this practice. Proper waste care ensures that water systems are pure from human waste and that families remain healthy. Latrines help prevent the spread of diseases like cholera and typhoid.
Cherilia Aneus is a 35-year-old mother of 4 and a beneficiary of the DFID project in Plato Bonga. Her family learned about hygiene and sanitation and how to build a latrine. Now her family is more healthy.
Latrines are uncommon in many parts of Haiti. Cherilia is a 35-year-old Haitian mother of four who never had a latrine before in her life. It was common practice to relieve one’s self outside. No one ever thought about the consequences this had on their health. However, Cherilia learned why this is dangerous and how a latrine can help keep them healthy and in line with God’s vision for their lives through education sessions facilitated by FH in her community. Now her family has a latrine at their home that they use regularly.
In Chinandega, Nicaragua, Emanuel Church partnered with FH to bring clean water and good hygiene/sanitation. Though there were latrines built in the community, they were faulty. Feces polluted the environment. Because of this, truancy in students increased up to 60 percent. The churched and FH worked to fix this problem and health increased in the community.
You Can Make a Difference!
There are so many other stories of latrines literally saving lives.
Communities around the globe are learning about the importance of proper bathroom usage, which glorifies God! Hallelujah.
You can read about latrines built in Kenya here and here. You can read more about the solution of latrine building here.
May this be a reminder to trust in God and his commandments. Use your bathroom breaks today to think about his eternal, holy wisdom.