Expat Magazine

For the Love of Hygiene.

By Leah @ Oppositeocean @leahcb

On Wednesday it happened. The last straw was placed on the delicate little camel’s back and my toes crept right up to the very end of the ledge of sanity. I was washing my hands in one of the women’s restrooms in my faculty building and as I rinsed away the soap bubbles a girl exited a bathroom stall and came up to the sink. She took her water bottle from her backpack, turned on the faucet and then filled up her bottle, turned off the faucet and shuffled out of the restroom (all without washing her hands). All of my figurative internal bugs went crawling around under my skin resulting in a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Not only did this girl neglect to wash her hands after relieving herself, she then also put her most likely soiled hands on something that she was going to put on her mouth.


This instance was the culmination of a very present problem that I’ve been noticing for some time. So very few girls and women wash their hands after using the public restrooms in Ghent.

This a big issue for me. I hate this for many reasons. Firstly, we are in an academic environment, touching desks, pens, chairs, door handles, cafeteria tables – the list goes on – and I can almost literally see the germs being scattered about. Secondly, I hate this because these people are not being responsible about their health; not washing hands after using the restroom can make you seriously ill, not to mention the amount of illness that is always lurking about in such public places. Thirdly, I hate this because they’re endangering my health, too.

The bottom line is, I don’t want to be ingesting anyone else’s bodily fluids and I don’t think that my peers want that either. So here it is, ladies, my very sincere plea for you to start being responsible body owners. Take one extra minute and join me in the effort to maintain proper hygiene, wash your hands in camaraderie, go forth with your head held high and your hands clean.

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