It is Wednesday evening, and you are home after a long day at work. Work went well, except, you are not feeling fine. You had to skip dinner, to the consternation of your wife. Your tummy feels like an Aleppo being pummeled by all the bombs the Russians can deploy. You have made at least six visits to the loo in the last two hours, maybe more, who's counting? Very watery visits.
Very smelly, watery visits.
All you had this evening was watermelons. Sliced and ready-to-eat watermelons you bought off a hawker and ate as you endured the traffic jams that punctuated your drive home to wifey and kids.
You have visited the chemist at the street corner, and he has given you a cocktail of drugs which he promised will give you relief within a short time.
As you race to the toilet yet again, you make a mental note about avoiding watermelons. As the next wave of brown water gets expelled into the toilet bowl, you try to remember what they said about prevention and cure.
Only problem is, you’re probably wrong; probably barking up the wrong tree. It probably wasn’t the watermelons.
This morning, Latifat had to take her older child to school and so she asked her neighbor, Iya Bose, to help her look after her two-year old daughter Halima. Iya Bose agreed and took Halima and her own six-year old daughter Bose along with her to her stall. The stall was located on the fringes of the nearby mechanic village. It was at this stall she sold a variety of things ranging from biscuits and sweets to mineral water and “pure” water. Her husband, Ayo, a vulcanizer, had a shed in the mechanic village, which was quite close to her stall, and which afforded him the opportunity to stop by the stall in the afternoons for lunch…or whatever could pass for lunch.
Today, when Iya Bose and her two wards, Bose and Halima, got to the stall, Iya Bose noticed that Halima had wet her nappies; while she was in the process of changing the diapers, the baby shot out another generous stream of watery stool. Eventually, Iya Bose noticed that Halima was having diarrhea and had to divide her attention between her sales and cleaning up the baby’s soiled backside yet again. Of course, the fingers that cleaned the baby’s poo also counted the customers’ cash. No time for such niceties as washing hands after cleaning baby up. Not when baby was passing stools at the rate of three times per hour. Time na money.
When you stopped by Ayo’s place so that he could pump your tires, and gave him NGN1,000.00 and insisted he provide your NGN800.00 change, it was to his wife’s stall he went. It was from her fingers, soiled with baby Halima’s poo germs, that he collected the equally contaminated NGN800.00 that he came and handed over to you. It was when you took the money that you took in your fingers as well the germs that came from Baby Halima’s poo – a baby whose existence you didn’t know about. It was the NGN200.00 from that NGN800.00 that you used in buying the watermelons you bought at the next intersection.
It was the germs in your fingers that originated from the poo that came from Baby Halima and then passed through Iya Bose to Ayo to you that set you oscillating between your bedroom and bathroom.
All of this would have been prevented if you had simply washed your hands properly before you touched and ate the damned watermelons. You probably would have excused yourself from this unholy communion of shit.
Wash your hands. Correct handwashing is your greatest antibiotic.