Pooping in India

  • -

Pooping in India

Before coming for a 6-month internship in India, you have a lot of preconceptions, fears and questions, and one of the biggest ones includes: what are the toilets like in India? What you usually hear in Western countries is that Indians use squat toilets and don’t have toilet paper. But sometimes you hear worst, like I did: that they practice open defecation.Then I arrived in India. Indeed I had to deal with the squat toilet, but in lots of restaurants, hostels and even in some family homes, I could find western toilets. But it is true: apart from hotels, there is usually no toilet paper available. So during my first week, one of my first concerns was to find toilet paper and never run out of it. I had to look for it every day or two.It was stressful. Usually you can only find single rolls that sell for about 40 rupees each. Then I finally got to my cluster in the rural village of Gajner, located in Rajasthan. With my housemates we bought toilet paper regularly in Bikaner, a city about the 45 minutes away from the village. In India you don’t throw toilet paper down the toilet since the pipes are quite small so we had to burn it and we had to burn it often. Meaning, every day or two we were dealing with bags and bags filled of soiled toilet paper that we had to dispose of in a metal bin outside of the house and set fire to, making the entire area smell horrible. I actually had to deal with one huge bag from our last quarterly meeting where all 30-plus interns were in our house. This bag had stayed weeks on the roof and was soaking wet from rainfall, among other things. It was a very horrible experience…

Toilets in India will always have access to water, either a tap located next to both a squat or Western toilet, or a little sprayer that looks like a shower head (this may sound hilarious but it is very true). I finally got to a point where I was comfortable using the sprayer and avoiding toilet paper when I urinated. Although sometimes your pants and underwear get wet from the sprayer or from using water to clean yourself, it really wasn’t and still isn’t an issue. Plus, it is over 40 degrees in Rajasthan most days. Even your sweat will dry instantly.

One day myself and my fellow interns in Gajner found ourselves arguing over toilet paper,“don’t use too much paper”, “be careful: it is expensive”, “nobody but me thinks to burn it”. To be short: toilet paper was becoming a source of tension. Eventually, we ran out of paper and we were not able to go to the city to buy more. No exit, we stared at each other… there was no choice, we all had to poo and our only option was water. The first few times were quite challenging but then we all got used to it. Finally, no more toilet paper to burn! AND the feeling of being super fresh and clean after each poop is awesome! I now wonder how I will do in France without my little spray shower. I can’t imagine going back to wasting all that toilet paper.


So have no fear, we’ve all been in your shoes and look at us now: pooping with no paper…welcome to India!

Lea (France)

SWASH Project Manager

Gajner centre, Rajasthan


Subscribe to our latest posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to organisational updates and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 404 other subscribers

Facebook posts

EduCARE India shared Harike Vikaas Centre's post. ... See MoreSee Less

#agriculture and #animalfare in Ludhiana. Conducted by K.V.K.department (krishi vigyan Kendra) taran Taran Punjab. More then 30,k farmers has taken participation in the fare and more then 10+ univ...

View on Facebook

"Sports EmPOWER Girls"
International Day of the Girl Child (11 Oct)

India Timms continued the good work of "Sports EmPOWER Girls" project initiated by Cora and supported by Khushbu, Ankur, Joshua, Janus, Marc, Manpreet, Yana, Charlotte, Gulshan and others)

... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Demonstration organic and herbal kitchen garden + tree nursery getting re-prepared !

@ ViKAAS Dev SEVA Centre, Naddi, and,
EcoDeva teams and leadership in action !

@ Jess, Lata, Lizbeth, Anaelle, Alexey, Ankit Rahul, Sneha, Tinu !
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

New teams, new beginnings !

@ academic fieldwork induction training of MSW students completed by
HR and Adm Coordinator - Pavas, and, Fieldwork Coordinator - Aditi !

Leaders in the making:
@ Long-term student interns - 24 students of MSW (2017-2019) from Central University of Himachal Pradesh;
@ Short-term student interns - 04 students of MSW (2016-2018) from Manipal University and, 01 student of MSW (2016-2018) from University of Maryland;

@ new team-members for Naddi, Rait, Kareri;;
@ women empowerment and self-help groups;
@ maternal and child health /early childhood education and care, preventive health;
@ kitchen gardens, herbal foods and nutrition; @ water sanitation and waste management, etc
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Preventive healthcare, nutrition and wellness / adolescence and maternal health project
@ Healthy, Local, Acceptable, Natural, Sustainable Food resources
@ Harvesting local evergreen Nettle leaves for powdering, packaging and bringing it to local food supply chain through village eco ReStore
@ Naddi, Dharamsala
@ Lata, Lizbeth, Jess, Ana, Alexey
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook