Of the 419 missions (as of March 19, 2016) in the world, some are very expensive, some are very cold, some hot, some humid, some dry.
But some are just plain DIRTY.
This list is by no means comprehensive and doesn’t mean that there are unsanitary conditions even in some of the mission apartments in Provo, Utah. Ahem…P-day cleaning! However, we wanted to come up with a list to help missionaries who are preparing to serve in some of the least sanitary countries so that they can know what to look out for and how they might avoid getting sick.
If an elder shakes hands with 20 people per day (on average) and has a 23 months in the mission field (after their time in the MTC), they have shaken hands with 13,800 people by the time their mission ends. For sisters thats 10,200! That’s a lot of hands! We don’t want to make moms nervous or anyone nervous for that matter, but there are things you can do to make sure you are keeping yourself healthy during your mission. But first, here are the missions in the countries with the least overall sanitation:
The Least Sanitary Mission Countries
- Brazil (There are 34 Missions)
- I listed Brazil as #1 because not because there are 39 million people without proper sanitation, but because there are 34 missions. That’s more missions than any other country other than the US (124 missions) and Mexico (tied at 34), but both the US and Mexico have much better sanitation than Brazil.
- India Banaglore and India New Delhi Missions
- 818 million people in India don’t have access to a toilet connected to a septic tank. That’s a lot of squatters. Toilet paper? I don’t think so. And without a toilet are there places to wash hands?
- The 6 Nigerian missions (Benin City, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt)
- 103 million people in Nigeria don’t have access to proper sanitation
- Indonesia Jakarta Mission
- 109 million people lack access to sanitation in Indonesia
- Vietnam Hanoi Mission
- 22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in Vietnam
- All the Philippines Missions (There are 21)
- 22 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in the Philippines
- Democratic Republic of Congo (3 Missions)
- 50 Million don’t have access to proper sanitation in DR Congo
- Ghana (4 Missions)
- 20 million in Ghana don’t have access to proper sanitation
- Kenya Nairobi Mission
- 27 Million in Kenya don’t have access to proper sanitation
This information came from takepart.com (see the infographic at the bottom of the article).
What can you do to stay healthy in these missions?
- Keep your hands clean with HAND SANITIZER.
- PureBioGuard is the best hand sanitizer we have found. In countries where running water is not clean or is not available, hand sanitizer is absolutely key. PureBioGuard is way inexpensive and one pack can last an entire mission (per missionary). You can read more about it here. With just one use, it is engineered to keep your hands clean all day long no matter how many hands you shake and even if you wash your hands. PureBioGuard is alcohol-free, Triclosan-free, non-toxic, and completely safe for kids, pets, and the environment. It will last 12+ hours and has been proven to maintain effectiveness through up to 10 hand-washings! It will then shed naturally as the skin regenerates a new layer. This brand is actually used by many missions around the world already who buy it in bulk (but is not officially endorsed by the Church).
- Just say NO to meals that are not sanitary.
- Be kind to members who cook, but if it comes down to it, it really is okay to say no to a meal that you know was not prepared with properly sanitized hands or in a sanitized home. This can be very difficult because you don’t want to offend the members or investigators. However, remember that over 10,000 hours of proselyting time were lost in just 4 months (according to one study from the BYU department of health sciences) because of illness/injury. Prayer does work, but God expects us to be as wise as serpents so we shouldn’t eat food that we know is not clean.
- Keep YOUR apartment clean.
- Even in these countries, mission presidents do all they can to find apartments that are in good places and that have access to sanitation. Take advantage of that! You don’t have to live like the people to come to love the people. Yes, the Lord will bless you, but you need to do all you can to be part of the answer to your parents’ prayers to keep you safe and healthy. Do your laundry, shower, keep the mission rules about hygiene.
- Obedience. Yes. It works. If you take the time to exercise each day, your immune system will be much more prepared to fight off anything you do pick up while shaking hands or using a random bathroom while in a pinch in your area.
- Yes, please keep asking for help to stay healthy and strong. You are being prayed for in every temple around the world. You are being prayed for in your family’s and friend’s and ward’s prayers. Add your prayers to theirs.
Elders and sisters, please, be wise. The Lord needs you to be healthy and strong and you can do your part by staying clean. We hope this helped you.
Infographic and information from Takepart.