Getting over myself
I currently work as the Communications Manager for WaterAid’s U.S. office, based in New York. I talk about the importance of WASH on a daily basis, but it didn’t really hit home until I was able to see our work firsthand.
I recently went to visit some of WaterAid’s program areas in the deserts of La Guajira, Colombia, home of many indigenous Wayúu communities. Most of the villages we visited had no private toilets. It is common for Wayúu men, women and children to use the bathroom outside in open fields. Knowing this, I carefully monitored my fluid intake every day when we were out in the field to minimize my need to use the bathroom. I also struggled with terrible headaches and no matter what kind of medication I took, I couldn’t seem to shake them. It wasn’t until several days into the trip that I realized that I was dehydrated, a self-inflicted ailment, brought by not drinking enough water in 95-degree temperatures – all because I didn’t have a toilet.
Millions of people around the world don’t have access to a toilet, and here I was, literally making myself sick, because I was too precious to use the bathroom outside.
I learned so much during this trip, but I truly came to understand the absolute necessity to continue working tirelessly to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to clean water and a toilet by 2030.