What is a Latrine??? Giving Tuesday Blog Post #1 By: Amelia Clark

Pictured: A homemade latrine in Boukeron, Haiti. Help us give them a safe place to go to the bathroom, unlike this current one. 

I found myself taken aback by how slowly things moved in Haiti. The meals took longer, the miles seemed farther, the clock ticked calmly through each passing hour. It was as if someone had pushed pause on the entire country. The only problem with this way of life is that it’s not just that Haiti is less urgent, but less progressive. Due to this, proper sanitation and hygienic latrines are a rarity. Though bathrooms don’t seem like a necessary item for survival, they are.  It’s easy to take them for granted. In American culture, big things happen in the bathroom. The long-awaited baby announcement, tireless hours spent assuring that your little one is growing up, a fateful indication that the cancer has spread. The bathroom is an emotional and physical focal point of our lives whether we acknowledge it or not; however, what if you couldn’t forget just how vital the bathroom is for your physical survival? That’s a reality for millions of people living in third-world countries: especially those in Haiti.

For haitians, improperly built latrines pose serious health threats; one of these threats being cholera. After the earthquake in 2010, 600,000 cases of cholera were recorded during just the first two years of the epidemic. Considering how isolated many parts of rural Haiti are, who knows how many unreported cholera cases were left untreated. Something as preventable as cholera shouldn’t be allowed to run rampant, so the members of SAVE along with community members ask for your support in the establishment of sanitary latrines in Boukeron.

Latrines don’t seem like the aid we are used to. It’s not pretty work and you can’t see an immediate difference like in medical clinics or the distribution of shoes; however, that doesn’t make this work any less important. When you decide to invest in latrines, you’re investing in the long-term health and physical well-being of your neighbors: the gift that keeps on giving.    


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