(Not at all) Wordless Wednesday: Happy World Toilet Day!

NicaToiletCollage

Toilets in Nicaragua. Photos by Jennifer Iacovelli

Is it weird that I’m excited for World Toilet Day? I mean, what other day allows for potty talk all day long? And you can get away with making a photo collage of latrines.

World Toilet Day was created by the United Nations to recognize the life-saving importance of toilets and sanitation and to raise awareness about the fact that one in three people around the world have no safe and sanitary place to “go” when nature calls.

If you follow me, you know clean water and sanitation are important causes for me. You also know that WaterAid America is an organization close to my heart.

I was honored to have traveled to Nicaragua back in March to see WaterAid’s work on the ground. I saw how women and teenage girls were being trained to build and maintain wells and toilets, giving them skills, income and a better way of life for their entire community. I stayed at Linda’s house where I ate dinner with a headlamp on, slept under a mosquito net, and climbed up rickety stairs to get to the outdoor toilet (pictured in the above collage on the left) while dodging livestock.

While there are times I wish I could go back to the simplicity of Nicaragua, the sheer lack of clean water, sanitation and infrastructure still boggles my mind.

WaterAid released the Child of Mine report today. The image below gives you a snapshot of the findings. The statistics are staggering. (Download the full 12-page report)

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So what is WaterAid America doing to bring awareness to these issues on World Toilet Day? On Friday, November 21 Hallie Tamez, WaterAid America’s Associate Director of Major Gifts, will  be carrying a 40-pound jerry can filled with water across Manhattan in solidarity with the women and girls across the globe who have no choice but to do this every day.

How cool is that? (Actually, I told Hallie she was pretty badass. Because she is. Just look at that photo below.) Hallie says:

The #Steps4Water event will highlight the daily experiences of women and children living without clean water. As we shed light on this issue, we look forward to welcoming new supporters to help raise funds on #GivingTuesday, December 2, 2014.

halliesteps4water

Go, Hallie, go!

You can find Hallie’s route on WaterAid’s website. If you spot her and post a photo to Instagram, tagged with @WaterAidAmerica and #Steps4Water, you could win a dinner for two at Spasso NYC.

So what can you do? Here are some action steps for you on World Toilet Day:

  • Stay tuned for updates from WaterAid America CEO Sarina Prabasi on Twitter via @SPrabasi and @WaterAidAmerica on World Water Day as she talks about open defecation and the challenges for women and girls at a special UN panel alongside representatives from UN Water, the Republic of Singapore and more. The event will be webcast on United Nations Web TV from 1p.m. to 3p.m. EDT on November 19.
  • Ask Congress to support the Water for the World Act. The US House Foreign Affairs Committee will be debating the bill on November 20. It’s our last chance to get the bill passed before year end!
  • Celebrate the importance of toilets with WaterAid and their friends at Go Green Environmental Services at a World Toilet Day celebration (PDF, 300KB) with live music, free food and beer at 119 Rocky Point Road, Middle Island, New York on November 19 at 4p.m. EDT.
  • Test your toilet trivia and learn more about sanitation at the Eww! What’s Eating You? exhibit at Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas.
  • Read more about the sanitation crisis

Bacon, Selflessness and an Open Air Workout

meboyswolfpack“Bacon,” Avery replied when I asked what I should blog about that evening.

My mind was all over the place and though my boys were with their dad for the weekend, I couldn’t bring myself to just sit and write. I had the entire weekend to myself, and the words weren’t flowing. I needed them to be flowing.

I was dropping Avery, a 5-year-old who calls me Auntie Jen, and her (my) family off after a workout. An outdoor workout on a cool Maine Sunday morning where I did things like deadlift cinderblocks, crawl up a hill, carry buckets filled with bricks and smash a tire with a sledgehammer. A workout that left Avery’s dad itching to chop wood as we drove home. We had driven in the “bacon car,” so named because it has the words from my tagline “eat bacon” on my back windshield.

“Wolfpack,” Avery suggested after I noted that maybe bacon was too expected. I also noted that WolfPack Fitness, our outdoor “gym,” has already been mentioned on my blog a couple of times (here and here).

The words didn’t flow Sunday night either. I paid bills instead and let my web developer change the theme to my website (which explains the new look you are now seeing). I attempted to view and respond to messages. So many messages. In so many places. No wonder my mind was everywhere.

On Monday, I turned to Facebook and asked friends for some inspiration. I’m known most for bacon and philanthropy, so it’s no surprise that the first six comments referred solely to bacon, followed by some suggestions around generosity and giving. There was mention of music, the changing of the season, and focus. A good friend from high school mentioned wanting to hear more about WolfPack specifically. I noticed other friends liking certain comments on the thread, showing their vote for my inspiration.

The writer in me started to weave it all together to find the storyline in Avery’s innocent response and a Facebook status I half expected to be ignored.

Two comments stood out for me.

“Selflessness,” a simple word left by my good friend, Jim Bouchard, who has written on the topic of selfless selfishness.

My friend Linda responded, “What about: it’s good to do something good for others, but sometimes you have to do something good for yourself? Like a nice open air workout?”

Linda is my workout buddy on Friday mornings and the woman who took the above photo of me and my boys before a “playout” on an island on a weekday where there was no school. We’re still fairly new to that open air workout, but our form is getting better and our weights heavier. The fun is never absent, and the view is always spectacular.

The real thread in all of this is a walk down a long dirt driveway I took on an unseasonably warm Friday at the end of September. The last piece of the puzzle in my quest to reclaim myself after divorce. A selflessly selfish act so my physical strength could match my inner strength. An act that has also given me the chance to be alongside some wonderful, generous people who also value selflessness and a happy life over pain and impressing others.

And, yes, I selflessly eat bacon and eggs before every workout.

I could fret about the lack of words flowing despite a large deadline looming ahead of me. Or the fact that I can’t quite keep up with all those messages. But when I stop and think about it, I had a spectacular weekend. I did some needed organizing, prioritized my to do list, went to a party, talked to some close friends, had a fun impromptu meetup, and pretended to milk a cow with bricks in my hands. At the end of it all, I got to hug my boys.

The words. They will come. They always do.

Wordless Wednesday: Gotta Love Maine Weather

The photo on the left was taken on October 13 on the Androscoggin River, while the photo on the right was taken on November 2 after playing in a few inches of snow. Both were taken in the Topsham/Brunswick, Maine area. You never know what you’ll get for weather around here.

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Wordless Wednesday (11.5.14): Gotta Love Maine Weather by Jennifer Iacovelli

Linking up with

5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday @ The Jenny Evolution
Curious as a Cathy

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