The taboo of poo – why are we so reluctant to talk about one of the biggest threats to human health?

Photo: Asian Geographic

Photo: Asian Geographic

Picture this: The setting sun is spreading a warm glow over your small rural village, but you are inside your house doubled over with intestinal pain. All you want is for darkness to fall so you can stagger out into the night, find a relatively secluded spot in the fields and void your bowels. You have been resisting the urge to defecate for most of the day as it is considered disgraceful in your community for a woman to be seen heeding nature’s call.

You sometimes suffer from urinary tract infections and constipation, and you have almost been bitten by scorpions and snakes while squatting in the open. You have even suffered sexual violence at the hands of unknown men under the cover of night. You fear for your own health and safety, and for that of your young daughter and disabled mother. Your life is tormented by the taboo of poo.

Read the full article by Sean Mooney for Asian Geographic, no. 65, issue 4/ 2009 and reproduced on the WSSCC web site here

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