On the blog

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Rev Cate Edmonds: Toilet Twinning champion

Cate with her twinned toilet
Vicar Cate Edmonds has gone above and beyond the call of duty in her mission to get people twinning their toilets. It all started when she twinned a loo at home for her husband’s Christmas present. Since then she’s been on a roll, encouraging twinnings all across her three parishes.

We asked Cate a few questions to find out what it is about Toilet Twinning that keeps her coming back for more.

Introduce yourself in 50 words or less:
Reverend Cate Edmonds, Diocesan Adviser for Education Chaplaincies and Vicar of three parishes. I’m married with two grown-up children, have travelled extensively and hate having to use poor sanitation. But that’s only when I travel, then I come home to good sanitation and feel guilty that there are others who don’t.

How many toilets have you twinned (directly and indirectly)?
Directly I have twinned eight and indirectly another five or six, with more on the way as I spread the news.
[Through Cate, two schools, three churches and the Old Deanery have all twinned loos, with others to follow soon.]

How did you first hear about Toilet Twinning?
Through Cord mailings

What stood out to you and why did you choose to support Toilet Twinning?
It’s immoral that women in particular miss out on education due to lack of sanitation, and just the idea of not having a private place to do the most personal but basic requirements of life is appalling.

How have you encouraged others to support Toilet Twinning?
I am constantly encouraging others to do this, for example, for secret Santas. My husband and I asked for donations for a wedding anniversary present.

Do you have any special Toilet Twinning moments?
Yes − people think I have a toilet fetish or am just mad but it makes them take note. 

What do you appreciate about Toilet Twinning?
It’s practical and, particularly with children, you can engage them in looking up their toilet twin online.

What’s your Toilet Twinning ambition?
That everyone in the world should have access to a toilet and clean water.

Friday, 14 October 2011

How to wash your hands

Well, its been a busy week, starting with World Porridge Day before heading into National Curry Week and National Chocolate Week. After all this focus on food, it seems only reasonable that we finish off with Global Handwashing Day on Saturday.

Although perhaps we should have all washed our hands before embarking on a national week of eating.

If you need any reminders about why handwashing is important, refresh your memory with a doctor’s view of this most essential practice.

Once we’ve got the ‘why’ sorted we need to make sure that we’re washing our hands the right way, for example making sure that we use soap and not just water. If you’re unsure, there are some rather detailed instructions out there!

Apparently, it takes 15–20 seconds to wash your hands properly. If you don’t want to just count to 20, you could try singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to yourself – probably in your head – as this is about the right length.

If you don’t want people to think you’re dropping hints about your birthday, you could invest in a musical handwash timer. These handy (no pun intended) gadgets fit onto your soap dispenser and, when pressed, light up and play music for 20 s.

Unfortunately some families can’t afford soap. Felizo Bigirimana is 35 and lives with his family in Burundi. Hygiene conditions are better now that they have their own latrine, but they don’t always have enough money to buy soap.

Felizo Bigirimana in front of his farm plot 
Cord (one of Toilet Twinning’s founding charities) has set up a Community Seed Centre that provides good quality seeds and cuttings to people like Felizo. This helps them to start growing produce to feed their families and sell for income.

By twinning your toilet, you’re helping Cord and Tearfund to support families like Felizo’s to have access to the basics that we so often take for granted.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Guest Post: Reverend Richard Littledale - A waste of money

Down the toilet
An old friend of mine used to do a party trick. He would ask for a £5 note and then say that there were three songs on it. He would list the songs off as “God save the Queen” and “Rule Britannia”. In answer to the puzzled expressions on the audience’s faces he would then rip the note in half, hand it back to the poor volunteer and say “Who’s sorry now!”. There must be more useful things to do with paper money than that, surely?
Origami artist Won Park would say that there certainly is. He can transform American Dollar bills into anything from a Koi Carp:

Image: maxcdn
to a camera:

Image: maxcdn
There is no doubting the skill involved – but couldn’t the money be turned into something a bit more lasting?
Maybe one of his other sculptures gives a clue:

Image: maxcdn
Without the need for any clever folding or origami magic – paper money could be turned into a real toilet. Far from flushing that money down the drain, it could be turned into a life-changing piece of sanitation. This is what you do:
·                 Take 12 £5 notes
·                 Flatten them out, rather than folding them
·                 Send them to Toilet Twinning and twin your loo
·                 Visit your loo’s location on Google maps
·                 Avoid all party tricks which involve tearing up (yours or other people’s) folding money.

The Rev Richard Littledale is Pastor of Teddington Baptist Church in Middlesex and is a graduate of Spurgeon's College, London and Saint Andrews University. A tutor at The College of Preachers, he has a particular interest in innovative and effective communication. His preaching has featured on BBC Radio 4 and he is a regular on BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought. He is the author of Stale Bread?: A Handbook for Spreading the Story and The preacher’s A to Z and writes as a columnist for The Baptist Times. You can find his blog at http://www.richardlittledale.wordpress.com/

His new book Who needs words: a Christian communication handbook, was published last week in print and on Kindle