Swept clean

‘The statistics on sanitary improvements are not interpreted by the native as progress in the fight against illness, in general, but as fresh proof of the occupiers hold on the country.’

Frantz Fanon – A Dying Colonialism

I’ve given up on trying to impose better hand washing practices in the compound that I live in. Everyone here washes their hands in the same tiny bowl of water before eating, with the water quickly turning grey after two hands have been ‘washed’ in it. I tried to explain that it is not cleaning people’s hands and that sickness spreads around the compound because of it. I brought two plastic jugs for the compound to use instead, so they could pour water out onto their hands rather than reuse the same water. It lasted for a week before the jugs went missing at meal times. I was not going to police it with a heavy colonial fist, so I’ve let it go.

‘If you sweep the earth with a broom, it is the broom that wears out.’

Somali Proverb 

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