PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FROM A FATHER
If you’re a man with a young daughter or a woman with a young son, this should worry/concern you.I attended an event with my daughter, Binta. The venue is known for hosting big social gatherings in Accra.
My girl, smart as she always is, told me quietly that she wanted to use the washroom. I’m no more in the bush so I didn’t let her just squat in the grass to do it.
We hurriedly marched towards the washroom area. She was quite uncomfortable but walked on anyway, knowing that the burden could only be laid down in the washroom.
It was after we got there, that I realised the mess I was in. The two rooms were labeled MALE and FEMALE as usual. My daughter is young but smart enough to use the washroom on her own. She does that at home. But this wasn’t home.
This was a washroom hosting hundreds of people on that day and if you’ve been to such events before, you’d know the washrooms tend to be messier than a mess.
As a concerned dad, the best thing was to go with her and assist her, in case the toilet seat needed cleaning or something…
But she’s a girl! And she’d need to use the FEMALE washroom. If I’m found in that room, your guess about what would happen next is as good as mine.
Even though the girl was pressed with the urine she was holding, we just stood there helplessly. I couldn’t take her to the MALE washroom and could definitely not follow her to the FEMALE washroom.
We stood there for what seemed like a generation before I spotted a female friend and begged her to take my girl in and assist her.
When I visited the US in 2018 (my first time), my friend Roosevelt and I walked to the washroom when he needed to use it. I sat in one of the comfortable couches in the waiting room while he freed himself in the inner room.
I didn’t notice which of the rooms we entered until he remarked afterwards that people may think we’re gay, seeing us enter and emerge from the FAMILY washroom together!
That was when I started noticing, that washrooms there had FAMILY, in addition to MALE and FEMALE. Roosevelt explained to me that the FAMILY washroom was used in situations like Binta and I found ourselves. Brilliant, I thought! But I’d never seen the real necessity for it until this encounter.
What would happen if I hadn’t met this female friend of mine at the entrance to the washroom? What if my daughter had refused to go inside with this “stranger”? You can imagine the stress we would have both gone through that day.
These are some of the little significant things we ignore. Let’s hear your experience, if you had any.
Credit: Umaru Sanda Amadu