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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The art of queuing

Or, how do you get from Wimbledon to Burundi?

An obsession with whether or not it will rain, strawberries and cream, queues of newsworthy proportions and, all too often, sporting disappointment – it could only be Wimbledon. What other occasion gives so many opportunities to flaunt Britishness?

Talking about the weather and queuing are two quintessentially British traits, and Wimbledon gives us the chance to enjoy both. Although centre court’s multimillion pound roof means rain won’t stop play, there are still many times when weather and tennis collide: Will Murray Mount stay open? Should people take extra sunscreen? What’s the strawberry crop like this year?

There are few certainties in today’s world, but an obsession with a Brit winning Wimbledon is a sure thing. As are the queues of people waiting to see whether this year will be THE year. The Wimbledon queue is such a tradition that it even has its own code of conduct.

Of course, Wimbledon isn’t the only time when our ability to queue comes in handy. Any woman will be only too familiar with The Queue. (Why are the queues for the ladies always worse than the gents? Answers on a postcard please… or in this digital age, just comment below).

Although we might despair at toilet queues, whether at a festival, on a night out or just about anywhere else there are public toilets, at least we have something to queue for. They might not always be spotless and chances are the door won’t lock, but there is some provision for privacy and at least a nod towards hygiene.

Compare this with the situation for 2.6 billion people in the world. They’re not queuing because they don’t have a loo to queue for. While we might complain that the toilet roll’s run out or the flush isn’t working, millions don’t have the luxury of a flush. Or a seat. Or even walls.

Since Toilet Twinning’s launch over 1,600 latrines have been built in Burundi. With an average family size of 6, that’s nearly 10,000 people who now have somewhere safe, private and hygienic to go. As well as safe sanitation your donations help to fund access to clean water and hygiene promotion. What are you waiting for? Twin your toilet and help give others something to queue for.

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