08 / May / 2015

How Poop Chose Me

Lily Sitting on ToiletBy Lily Zepeda

Since I was a kid I’ve always been curious about weird sh*t. I used to daydream about getting the opportunity to interview the type of people you’d never hear about on the 5 o’clock news. My head raced with questions, like, “What does a professional Face Feeler do?”  “How does one become a Snake Milker?” “What’s a typical day like for a Professional Iceberg Mover?” (Yes, these are all real people and real jobs). I guess police chases, weather updates and political interviews never really did it for me.

I’ve also always been fascinated with poop – or, at least pretty open about my own bodily functions. My brothers can attest to this. Growing up, I wasn’t shy about giving them status updates about my “inner workings,” or using gas passing as a threat for not listening to me.  Because of this, I completely shattered their “girls don’t poop or fart” fantasy pretty early on in life. Yep, they probably still think I am the grossest human being on this earth.

So, fast forward to a fall day in 2012, when I heard a story on the radio that a local university had been given an award for their toilet innovation at this event put on by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.” On top of that, they had been conducting intense studies on feces, which included experimenting with a slew of fake poo recipes in their lab. Whaaaat?? Now that’s a story! My childhood dream was about to weirdly come full circle.

As I dove deeper into the story of these new technologically savvy loos, I uncovered a much more serious shit-u-ation. Not only had I been completely unaware that 40 percent of the world’s population didn’t have the privilege of using a safe or hygienic toilet, but also millions of women, just like me, had to live in daily fear of rape or animal attacks as they attempted to do their business. That statistic was a turning point for me. Being quiet was no longer an option, I HAD to tell these stories that no one else was talking about. And, it had to be in a big way – in a film for worldwide audiences.

As I look back on the past couple years, I see that Flush Revolution has not only allowed me to revel in my weirdness, but, more importantly, it has provided an opportunity for my Latrine Dreams team and me to be the voice that catalyzes the transformation of the inadequate sanitation system. A voice that believes that everyone has the fundamental right to health and human dignity. My hope is that Flush Revolution will serve as a powerful advocacy tool entertaining, educating and engaging millions of viewers worldwide.

Lily and Tchavy on toilet

 

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