Page 10 - Print Version Volume 22 - Number 1126
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Page 10                                       QUOTES                                                                            Fortune Vol. 22 No. 1126 Nov. 28, 2021
                                                                                                                           Kidist Yidnekachew
                                                                  "Marginally encouraging."
                                                                                                                           Public Hygiene Goes Both Ways

                                              Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa,     There is much to complain about when it comes to public
                                               said of his efforts trying to help the warring parties in the civil war in  restrooms, many of which are unsightly and pungent due
                                                Ethiopia achieve their objectives through dialogue and negotiations.       to a lack of proper hygiene awareness and infrastructure.
                                                                                                                           But there is always a reason to get even more frustrated.

             Of the 20 oil-producing factories in the country, the            Delicate Number                              Often, we will find people engaging in public urination,
             United Oil Millss in Addis Abeba is the largest. This                                                         which mortifies many others. Part of the reason for this
           company, now 14 years old, supplies between 40pc and                   14,024.8                                 is connected to how dining halls, cafeterias and local
           50pc of the food oil consumed. Various types of edible                                                          establishments have conditioned people into thinking a
           oil are processed, ranging from the refined noug oil to             ... population to bank branch               bathroom or restroom is a luxury and that they have the
          the lower quality gomen oil (made from cabbage seeds).                 ratio by the fourth quarter               right to limit usage to their patrons. This is absurd. Even
                                                                                 of the previous fiscal year,              knowing that I have every right to use their facilities, I
                The Handbook for Ethiopia, 1969, University Press of Africa.                                               often feel the need to order either a macchiato or tea
                                                                              according to the National Bank               before running to the restroom. That is what we call old
wwaayybbaackckwwhehnen. .. .. .                                                 of Ethiopia (NBE). A third of              fashioned yelugnta, a feeling of discomfiture.
                                                                               the total bank branches were
                                                                                  located in Addis Abeba.                  Being unable to use the restroom makes some opt to
                                                                                                                           urinate on the streets, and some even take 'number two'
                                                                                                                           on the road. It gets worse. They probably do not clean
                                                                                                                           themselves properly afterwards and thus will be carrying
                                                                                                                           all types of pathogens on themselves. People also rarely
                                                                                                                           ever carry hand sanitiser and would likely not bother to
                                                                                                                           visit a handwashing facility – not that they could easily
                                                                                                                           find them.

                                                                                                                           In some places, including government institutions, it is
                                                                                                                           possible to get public bathroom facilities. But some of
                                                                                                                           the things people may find in there could be mortifying.

                                                                                                                           Who in their right minds would dip their fingers into
                                                                                                                           faecal matter to graffiti on the walls of bathroom stalls?

                                                                                                                           As repulsive as it
                                                                                                                           sounds, if one is
                                                                                                                           inclined to do as
                                                                                                                           such, they can
                                                                                                                           decorate their own
                                                                                                                           bathrooms in that        We should

                                                                                                                           manner but not a           not make the
                                                                                                                           public restroom          establishments
                                                                                                                           that has to be
                                                                                                                           shared with others.
                                                                                                                                                    that provide
                                                                                                                           How does it even
                                                                                                                           work? Do these           restrooms only

                                                                                                                           people do it with to their patrons
                                                                                                                           intent or after sitting
                                                                                                                           on the toilet they       out to be the bad

                                                                                                                           realise that there is                         guys.
                                                                                                                           neither tissue paper
Jubilee Palace, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 1972.            Historical photos from the Horn of Africa Facebook page            nor water and thus

                                                                                                                           take the matter to its illogical conclusion?

 „„Trade                                                transition into Siinqee Bank earlier this year, having             Given the lack of hygiene, the mere act of sitting in a
Bole Lemi Tenant Marks Maiden Shipment                  received a banking licence from the National Bank                  public restroom is uncomfortable, especially if it is not
                                                        of Ethiopia (NBE). Commanding an army of 6,000                     clean. I will take my business home. Most women share
ShangTex Manufacturing, a textile company based         employees, Oromia Credit is the second biggest of                  my sentiment. That is why most of us do it squatting as
in Shanghai, has shipped its first batch of products    the 41 microfinance institutions operating in the                  opposed to sitting on the seat. Men have urinals thus do
abroad. The company, which operates in Bole Lemi        country, alongside the Amhara, Addis, Dedebit, and                 not have to worry about such things.
Industrial Park in the outskirts of Addis Abeba,        Omo, which are owned by their respective regional
earned over 80,000 dollars from a shipment of           states.                                                            This phenomenon has happened to me a few times in the
sweaters destined for markets in Italy.                                                                                    past, but I brushed it off. I even told myself it is not what
                                                         „„Aid                                                             it looks like. Maybe it is a stain from wot (stew) or some
      Publication: Fana Broadcasting Corporate,              Over 9m People in Need of Aid: UN                             other food, but the smell was unmistakable then and even
                                November 22, 2021.                                                                         now. I do not know the logic behind this act, if there is any.
                                                        The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said last
 „„Health                                               week that the number of people requiring food aid                  Perhaps we should not make the establishments that
        COVID-19 Vax Drive Ramps Up                     in war-torn northern Ethiopia had surged to more                   provide restrooms only to their patrons out to be the
                                                        than nine million. An estimated 3.7 million need                   bad guys when the bathroom is kept under lock and
Nearly 7.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines           urgent food aid in Amhara Regional State while some                key. It is hard to blame why some of the more high-class
have been administered thus far, with nearly three      5.5 million people in Tigray Regional State require                establishments have begun using bathroom attendants,
million of the shots dispensed in November alone.       emergency humanitarian assistance.                                 which I usually do not like because it makes me
More than six million people have received at least                                                                        uncomfortable knowing they are close. A look at how
one dose of the four kinds of COVID-19 vaccines          „„Health                                                          public restrooms are treated, and it is not that hard to
available in the country, accounting for less than six     Africa CDC, Mastercard Begin Vaccine                            understand.
percent of the population. The Ministry of Health                          Distribution
kicked off a vaccination campaign earlier this                                                                             To improve hygiene in the country, everyone should play
month, making anyone over the age of 12 eligible        The Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC have                      their part. Before defacing these facilities, people should
for the jab.                                            announced that 15.2 million vaccines bought under                  think of how the urgency feels. It is the urgency when one
                                                        the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative are being              needs to use the facilities and there are not any around
 „„Finance                                              distributed across Africa. This is the first batch of              and ponders the relief one feels and be grateful there was
  Siinqee Acquires Core Banking System                  jabs allocated to the continent, according to a joint              a clean restroom in their time of need.
                                                        press release. The vaccines will be distributed within
Siinqee Bank has signed a deal with Oracle FS to        countries by UNICEF.                                               Some 60pc to 80pc of all communicable diseases in
acquire the latter's Flexcube core banking system.                                                                         Ethiopia are attributed to lack of access to safe water and
Oromia Credit & Saving Share Company began the                                                                             inadequate sanitation and hygiene services, according to
                                                                                                                           United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Some 70,000
                                                                                                                           children die every year of diarrhoea. It is up to all of us
                                                                                                                           to improve this situation.

                                                                                                                             ƒƒ Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human
                                                                                                                           nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology,
                                                                                                                           journalism and communications and can be reached
                                                                                                                           at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.
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