For the past year I have had to share toilet facilities with hundreds of other US military personnel as well as a host of Third Country Nationals and Afghans. By now I have pretty much gotten used to the odd hygiene and toilet practices of our non western partners. I was recently thinking back to when I first arrived in country almost a year ago and was exposed to the oddities of third world defecation for the first time.
I remember seeing signs “Do Not Leave Water Bottles in Here” in all the port-a-johns. Why would people bring water bottles into the port-a-shitter? Probably because there is nowhere to wash their hands. It didnt take long to figure out what was going on.
I had put these odd defecation practices out of my mind until yesterday when I was out on a mission to Laghman Province. I saw the above photo plastered to all the US toilets. I simply had to capture it and share it with America.
My favorite part of sharing toilets with Afghans and TCNs isn’t the un-flushed mounds of feces. It isn’t the piles of brown paper towels that are literally piled into miniature mountains on top of their poo. My absolute favorite part is the muddy footprints that they leave on the toilet seat after squatting on the john. It really accentuates the polarity between our cultures.
For more information on pooping in Afghanistan, please check out Tom Ricks blog here.