Dark nights or incessant rains: Goindamma can ‘go’ whenever she wants
Fifty-year-old Goindamma and her husband have had a toilet in their house in Karnataka’s Y Mallapur village for a long time now. Yet they would go out to defecate. Built under a government scheme, the toilet, Goindamma said, was poorly constructed with not enough space and was clogged. “It was also of Indian style (squat style) which was difficult for both of us to use, especially for my husband, because he has a knee problem,” she said. A few months back, the aged couple’s woes came to an end.
Life was going as usual for Goindamma and her husband when they came to know of an organisation that was encouraging the use of toilets to ensure good health. WaterAid India with the support of Water.Org campaigned that by restoring unused toilets and stopping open defecation, people would stop falling victims to diseases; it would give them comfort and save time.
“The area that we used for defecation was at a distance and we had to walk a lot to reach there. It would become very difficult to go at night, or when it rained,” Goindamma said, “When I got married and came here, I found it very embarrassing to go out to relieve myself. Back at my parents we had a toilet. But here I had to get used to getting up at 4 a.m. to go outside and relieve myself.”
With WaterAid’s encouragement, Goindamma decided to take a loan of INR 5,000 from the Self Help Group that she was a part of, to restore her toilet. “We took the help of the Panchayat (in restoring the toilet). The cost of building a toilet was INR 16,000-20,000. We installed a western pot so that we could use it with ease.”
It’s been four months now since the elderly couple have been using their new toilet. “Life has become so much simpler now. We don’t have to plan or look at the time to relieve ourselves. We can go at night and during the rain. My husband can go without suffering through his joint pain,” she said happily.