THE AIRPORT RESTROOMS REVEAL THE NATION

By Akin Ojumu

"Cleanliness is next to godliness" or "Cleanliness is godliness" That is a phrase commonly attributed to John Wesley, the English theologian and evangelist who founded the Methodist church. He he is said to have first mentioned it in a sermon he gave almost 250 years ago.

To many of us, the phrase is nothing more than one of those cliches employed by adults who are trying to impress upon a child the importance of personal hygiene.

While the modern use of phrase may have been credit to John Wesley, the concept of an outward cleanliness as a reflection of an inward purity is as ancient as the Babylonian and the Hebrew religious worship. Prominent in the Hebrew Torah - as well as the Christian Bible - are prescriptions and regulations for washing of hands and other body parts before a Hebrew can enter into the Temple to offer sacrifices.

Due to the nature of what I do for a living, I get to do a fair bit of traveling. These trips have taken through many airports around the world. Besides the many other things the average traveller considers important to have in an airport, I'm particularly interested in the state of the airport restrooms.

Why the restroom, you may ask? Be rest assured, it isn't that I have a sensitive bladder or jittery bowel. My fascination with airport restrooms is much simpler than that.

The  condition of the restrooms in an airport is a good indicator of the state of that nation. A country that considers it important to keep airport restrooms clean is a country that values keeping the nation clean. When there's cleaniness in the airport restrooms,  there's most likely going to be orderliness in the entire nation. Such a country is more than likely under the leadership of responsible and responsive politicians. It is a country where the ordinary citizens on the streets understand their individual roles in ensuring a society that is conducive for living for everyone. It is a country that will maintain functioning systems and structures that allow for growth and development. It is a country that values the worth and dignity of the human life.

In short, cleanliness - of the airport restrooms - is next to godliness -- of a nation. Next time you pass through your nation's airport, pop into the loo to check what condition it is in.

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