My Unusual 50th Birthday Wish – Call it Crazy

I told my husband what I wanted for my 50th birthday (my birthday is in June), and he endearingly chuckled and said, “You are awesome.”

Bobbles in my hair. I want bobbles in my hair for my birthday like this little girl. Ok…just kidding, but isn’t she fabulous?

DSC_5574I am getting up there, you know. 50 years isn’t some wimpy age. So I have been swirling ideas around in my head on what I want. Then, while flying home from Peru last week, it came to me like a smile.DSC_3761 The other night, I was sitting in a room listening to four pastors from northern Peru talk about the issues of water.  It’s very important for the health of children to have access to clean water. The good news is, there are many donors who love to contribute to water projects through Compassion International, so these get funded more easily.

However, I learned there is another BIG need that is close to my heart. I see this problem all over the world, and one that is very important to children, but very difficult to get funded. It’s about a child’s dignity. Can you guess what it is?

As I listened to the Peruvian pastor’s talk about their communities, all of the pastors mentioned this need. One pastor said, “Compassion helped us get water for our project. It was amazing. We can provide clean water for our children to drink and for our community.”

It was the second part of his story that caught my attention.

“We have water now, but there is a bigger problem. People won’t drink the water, because we don’t have a place to go to the bathroom. We don’t have toilets, so people have to walk to a field to relieve themselves, and it can be dangerous. When children walk off alone in our community, they are at risk of getting kidnapped by traffickers. We have many health issues in our community due to people not wanting to go to the bathroom. As a result, people suffer from kidney diseases, bladder infections and hemorrhoids.” The pastor said.

I started thinking about all the bathrooms in the world that I have used. So many communities are like this. In many places around the world, our sponsored children use a hole in the ground.  Imagine a hot, smelly, fly infested outhouse that has no structure, only a dirt floor and a hole in the ground. I have used these facilities many times, and it’s hard not to gag. I think about how our Compassion children step into these rooms with their school shoes, or barefoot, to use these outhouses. DSC_5696DSC_5548I will simply say, if your aim isn’t good, the floor is a mess (and my aim isn’t so good).

Many times while traveling, I have held it all day too. It’s embarrassing to admit this.DSC_3835 I am guilty of not drinking water simply because I didn’t want to fill my bladder up and have to use these facilities. I thank the Lord God Almighty I have this ability to hold it, but it’s not good for me. I realize that if I lived in these communities, without toilets, I would refrain from drinking water too.

I arrived in San Francisco, on my way home from Peru, and this idea for my birthday began to take form in the shape of a toilet. I started seeing and dreaming of toilets. Once I hit the ground, I called my friend Karen, who works in our donor department at Compassion. I asked her about toilets.

“Patricia, there are so many Compassion centers asking for funding for latrines. But it’s hard to get people excited about funding latrines. People love to fund water, Child Survival Programs, and other programs, but latrines are difficult.” Karen said.

She then sent me a list of all the Compassion centers wanting latrines and I started crying. I read about all the places in the world where children constantly suffer from diarrhea, Cholera, intestinal worms, Trachoma, and Typhoid and other issues because of the lack of latrines.

One of the pastors from Peru told us that he did receive funding for toilets. “When we got our toilets, we were so happy. I told the children that they can use the toilets any time, and to bring their families. The community comes to the church to use the toilets, so I have this opportunity to minister to the families. We don’t have enough toilets for the entire community, but we are thankful for what we do have.”

For my 50th Birthday, I decided I want TOILETS. I want to help fund toilets to prevent diseases and sicknesses caused by a lack of proper sanitation. I want these children to have dignity, privacy and safety.  This idea puts a smile on my face of 50. It makes my birthday seem so less depressing and more purposeful. Toilets for kids. It’s perfect.DSC_5530

Do I sound crazy? Yep, I am always crazy.

I guess, when I die, I would like to say I made an impact to this world, and for my 50th birthday, I want to raise money for toilets for our Compassion children. My goal for my birthday is to raise $30,000 for toilets and my husband and family think it’s fun, perfect and crazy, but why not get a little crazy on my 50th!

So, if you want to help, or give me a birthday present this year (it’s tax deductible), then email me at or email my friend Karen, who is helping me find the perfect project in the world to help build some latrines. Together, we can make a difference.

Instructions on making a donation!

Step one: Let me or Karen know you are making a donation via email. This way we can ensure it gets tracked correctly and put into the right fund at Compassion for the latrines.

Karen’s email is:

Patricia is:

Step two: Make a check to Compassion International or you can call Compassion at 1 800 336-7676 to make a donation. Make sure to include this information. You will need this information when making the donation!

Fund Code:  WP
Comment:  Allocated to TZ-013401 per Karen Stephenson Major Gifts Director

Here is the address to send your check (zip code only is fine)

Compassion International
Colorado Springs, CO 80997

(Please note that we cannot provide an on-line option to give due to this being a special fund! )

Thanks all! This will be the best birthday ever!!

4 Comments on “My Unusual 50th Birthday Wish – Call it Crazy

  1. Pingback: A Perfect Distraction – Toilets | Jonesbones5

  2. I’m in, what a great idea. But I’ve alread bought you a birthday present, so I’ll do both. See you soon.

  3. Hi Michelle,
    Each of the latrines (or bathrooms) cost various amounts depending on the work involved, whether they have water or not. For one project to receive bathrooms can cost between $12,000 on the low end (possibly for pit toilets) or up to $25,000 (or a little more for the flushing toilets). I’m shooting for latrines in Tanzania, which cost between $15,000 to $23,000 depending on the needs with sanitation. I hope to fund two latrines if possible, but it will depend how much I fund raise over the next month! I found proposals from close to 50 projects globally asking for help to build latrines of all types as well so lots of needs for toilets!! Some of these include water too for hygiene For example, at one project, $25,000 includes this for a description. “To improve the hygiene quality principally of 233 children at the Project as part of their physical development through the construction of 9 new toilets, wash basin, 1 shower, 1 septic tank, and 1 elevated water tank.” My friend Karen who works at Compassion is finding us the perfect place to construct! If you want to help and give a tax deductible gift, email Karen. She is tracking. I will report to everyone what we end up raising and building together!!! I am super excited about this!

  4. I LOVE this…. What all does $30,000 buy? Are these flush-able toilets?

    I am very much like you and wouldn’t be drinking water either…….. so to me, this project is VERY exciting!!! I can’t donate right this minute, but I will be donating. Because, to me, toilets are every bit as important as water. ❤ 0

    HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY!!!! What a perfect way to celebrate… (Maybe you should make your goal $50,000) 😉

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