Personal hygiene is VERY personal



Noun: Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. through cleanliness

The above definition is quite clear.Maintain good health or you’ll fall sick or worse, die. Personally I think I maintain the hygiene habits of a 20 something year old male bachelor. Basic, functional and non-lethal. Sadly, this isn’t something I can say about the standard of hygiene of others.

In public places of convenience built by the government (KVIPs as we in Ghana call them) and at work, you expect a certain standard of hygiene so you don’t fall sick after relieving your constipation. The situation in reality is far from the case. The public ‘shithouses’ I’ve been to maintain health standards not fit for the lowest of creatures walking the planet.

Not even Qaddafi.

The very few times I’ve had the displeasure of using these facilities in Accra, I nearly passed out from holding my breath too long. They smelled like rotten eggs + urine kept for weeks + vomit + cigarette smoke + shit. And for some strange reason, every occasion that I found myself using these places, I had to move from stall to stall because one diarrhea-stricken bastard decided to let it rip right on the floor. Or some other bastard who had kept his shit for a whole week and had finally decided to visit and ended up filling the bowl, with bubbling, foamy, shockingly disgusting shit. SHIT!.

As a result of these shocking experiences, I’ve come to expect little of people outside of my house when it comes to hygiene. Most people don’t give a fuck about their health and so one would be stupid to expect them to care about the health of others. At least when they leave their respective homes.

And this brings me to the reason I decided to blog about this issue at all. The temperament of the toilet at work. She has grown to develop very violent mood swings. At one time she would be so clean and smell so fresh it could pass for a residential toilet sprayed with the sparingly used the-rich-relative-is-visiting perfume.

At times like these, my piss and the occasional poop, ease out stress-free.

However, when she does get into her bad moods, my dear friends, it ain’t a pretty sight at all, even for the blind. With the help of a leaky wash bowl they can conspire to stink up the place, wet the floor so bad sometimes there is no leg room for the customary leg-spreading when urinating and when it gets really bad, no water to flush her shit because of low water pressure. Not her fault but this proves how poor a hostess she can be to us.

I hope you’ve followed my subtle attempt at humour till now.

This collective running away of taking responsibility to keep her clean when her mood sours, is a shame since it is hard to point fingers to any particular person. But this leaves me thinking about why others don’t put in the needed effort to keep the washroom clean when the rest are clearly doing so. And the painful thing is the faults of the minority are more obvious than that of the majority.

It is also very obvious that the unknown offenders’ hygiene standards, if they possess them at all, go south when they leave their homes. Way down south. Who is going to finger them out and confront them to stop soiling up a place of repose for some of us and even forbid them from using it so they learn the hard way? One day of having to run down the stairs to find a toilet because you were just about to ‘pop’ will teach anyone of them a lesson.

Embarrassing, these people aside, the cost implications here are evident. Water and chemicals are usually used in large quantities when the clean up finally starts. Office stress can also escalate when one has just been to toilet hell and back. I can verify this because of the strange coincidence between people having terrible moods and when our toilet’s not clean. And how does this affect us? Well performing at 80% instead of 90% will affect productivity in the long run.

Noun: Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. through cleanliness

Remember this and abide by it.


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