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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Handwashing in Dinguera

I haven't started any big projects yet (and I am totally at peace with that) but I have been keeping busy with some smaller ones.  I try to do something related to community health work every day, even if it's only greeting a new potential counterpart.  

A couple weeks ago, I went to Dinguera, a village about 4 kilometers away on a bush path.  Dinguera has a couple hundred people and a primary school, so I went to the school to greet the teachers and introduce myself.  I found that the teachers at the primary school speak beautiful Pulaar and were friendly and enthusiastic about possible Peace Corps work collaborations.  As a first project with them, I planned a handwashing/Ebola prevention causerie with Khaled Balde and his adorable students.

 After I met with Khaled and told him in my terrible Pulaar what I hoped to accomplish (you can't see germs, but they can make you sick, washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating can help you get sick less often), he stood in front of his classroom and gave the presentation of the century.  His went through the terrifying symptoms of Ebola with relish, like a kid telling a campfire story.  Everyone's attention was complete and unfaltering.  He literally had the kids standing and chanting "SABUNDE! SABUNDE!" (soap, soap)!  If this guy were in America he could have a future as a motivational speaker.  It was beautiful.

Khaled put glitter on a volunteer's hand, and told the poor girl she had pretend Ebola.  She shook another girl's hand, who in turn shook a boy's hand, and so on down the line, until even after several degrees of separation from the original "patient," everyone had some glitter on their fingers.


GERMS!

Then we went to the tippy-tap station outside the school, which I constructed under a picturesque Flamboyant. The kids first tried to wash off the glitter with water alone - no dice.  Then they tried it with soap, which was still only moderately effective, because glitter is devilish.

 

All clean!!!!!!!