My name is Nabeel, Toilet Nerd and cofounder of the Manavta Project. Martin, our pretty boy Toilet Enthusiast and I, are ecstatic about this new website and hope our fans will take some time to engage with us on our journey. To start, I figure I should talk about what brought us here in the first place. Poo.
Most of the time, it's pretty awkward talking about poop. The very thought of it is repulsive in some cultures (including my own). Open defecation isn’t something we casually talk over wine– sorry ladies. There exists a poo taboo. People shy away from talking about this stinky issue.
I recently did a lecture at the University of Alberta for some fellow students and there arose some interesting questions. People loved the idea of how poop and urine is so useful for agriculture. In light of this, one particular student expressed to me how she couldn’t grapple with the idea that people defecated out in the open – she was mortified. It's a fact that most of the human species on this planet have nowhere to sh*t (almost 2.5 BILLION people!). For those reading this blog, we have all benefited from modern sanitation and the thought of wiping yourself bare in the middle of a forest is not ideal.
Every single day, young girls are subject to rape and harassment - many of them just looking for a safe toilet to use in the middle of the night. This issue is even more complex when they reach the age of puberty, as girls and women have nowhere to change pads when they're menstruating.
Especially since the United Nations illustrious MDG targets are failing to be met, we are seeing some organizations step up to the plate on these issues.. The hardest hit countries such as India are hot markets for private institutions, who basically do what the government should be doing. I am keen to see how Modi's push for a ‘Toilets before Temples’ campaign in India plays out.
At Manavta we are all about keeping the idea of poop light. We want to embrace this often-messy bodily function and shed some light on how lucky we are in the western world. Next time you decide to destroy your bathroom's aroma, consider yourself lucky and be thankful that you are cleaning yourself with two-ply (or three-ply if you're really living the dream) and not a leaf or a dirty rag.