We had no bathrooms. It amazes my children when I tell them we didn’t even have bathrooms. In Pakistan these things were introduced later on. They were considered a luxury. People in my village believed that bathrooms did not belong in the house. How could you live in a house where there is a gutter? I remember when we made our first bathroom, the villagers questioned our motives and our cleanliness.
Some common questions my kids have asked me.
So, what did you do when you had to pee or poop?
“We would go out in the fields. We had plenty of trees and bushes. We would find one, hide behind it and go. We would take water with us to clean ourselves but in some circumstances, we would have to use the tree leaves.”
What if you had to go really bad.
“We would hold it in. Or just go to the fields like you would go into a bathroom.”
What did you do when it was night?
“Do you not go to the bathroom when it’s night? We would wear our shoes and go. Because we didn’t have electricity, we would have to take oil lanterns along with us. People actually preferred going at night. There were less people.”
How far was the walk?
“A good fifteen minutes.”
What if you couldn’t control it.
“Then you had to change your pants.”
I remember my wife telling me how she never went alone because it wasn’t safe. A bunch of girls would gather and go together in a group. That way they kept a look out for each other. They would scatter around and do their business. My wife tells me how one day when she went out, she saw a snake. She screamed so loud that all the girls gathered to come to her defense. When the elders in the village found out they hunted down the snake and killed it.
Millennials and every generation that comes after will never realize the struggles we had to face for the things they take for granted… like toilets.