Sunday, April 22, 2012

Up a Creek without a ...

I have just finished cleaning myself up after our Earth Day contribution.  Our family participated in a local creek clean-up.  After a few years and several volunteer groups, I am happy to report that our section of Doan Brook was looking pretty good.  I did run into a small problem however when my 9 year old son urgently needed a toilet.  We popped up out of the creek gorge in our bright yellow worker's vests carrying bags of filthy garbage on a major road in Cleveland with not a clue where we should look for a public facility.  Luckily, I saw two men leaving their house and so we ran across the boulevard and asked to use their toilet.  They looked more than a little surprised but did not hesitate to let us in.  It made me wonder: if two strangers showed up at our door and asked to use the bathroom under what conditions would I be willing to return the favor?

On the way back I started thinking about public toilets in urban areas.  They used to be more common but now they are very rare.  I know that I always see signs in the city saying "You can't use our toilet unless you are a paying customer."  It makes me wonder where are homeless people supposed to use the bathroom.  People always complain about the smell in parking garages and so forth, but really, what are the options?

My son and I hurried back down into the ravine to catch up with our group.  Unfortunately, I missed a step while crossing the stream and got a full bath.  It was at that moment it occurred to me where the homeless might be going to relieve themselves.

I found this lovely synchronicity in my inbox when we got home.  It is from someone who knows that I have written about the lack of sanitation in third world countries before.   They asked if I would post it.

Lack of Sanitation
Created by:
Happy Earth day Everyone!  I hope you found and excellent way to celebrate.