We completed our first training session for the Community Health Promoters today. We trained and equipped volunteers representing communities that are part of the Timmy Global Health program so they could, in turn, teach Basic Sanitation, Hygiene & Safe Water Management in their communities. Tomorrow, our team heads into the jungle to teach this program to five different communities (over the next five days). We will be focusing on the members of the water council for each community, but anticipate extra participants to show up to learn as well. It will be up to the local water councils and health promoters to educate the members of the communities (via schools, small groups, individual families, etc). I am learning a lot from Chana and Deborah on this trip. Both of these awesome ladies have experience in (and passion for) safe water and hygiene education programs. “Safe water is good medicine” (MedWater‘s motto) and the way to keep it safe is to be taught basic sanitation and hygiene. Such as, how to properly wash your hands (check out “Tippy Taps”), avoid making standing pools of water, use a latrine or bury the poo, cover food, contain animals in pens, trap flies and keep water containers clean. The class was very interactive and one of the fun lessons we taught was about microbes. Microbes themselves aren’t fun at all, BUT we each put glitter on our hands and then greeted all of the participants. We were able to use the glitter as a visual example on how germs are spread from person to person and how easy it is to have the microbes (glitter) end up on your face and in your mouth. I got my microbes everywhere- even in my teeth. I will probably still have glitter in my hair next week when I return to the States!
I am looking forward to getting into the jungle communities because that is where I will have a chance to see the locations for the potential water purification installation sites. I am a wee bit nervous about having the wisdom to determine the best possible solution for collecting (roof or river?) water. I know there are MedWater volunteers who can assist in the design Stateside (I’m going to start bugging them today!), but it has to be figured out quickly. The first install team (Darrell and I) arrive here on May 12th and we need to know exactly how to retrieve the water by that time. I am researching Ram Pumps right now, but I’ve never built one myself. If anyone reading this blog has built one, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Rainwater catchment would be easiest, but this first community (Los Rios) uses 2,000 Liters per day and there are dry periods throughout the year so storage might be an issue. I will have more information about this particular community on Friday. Friday is the day we are training the water council in Los Rios and we will have a chance to get their input and see the site.
That’s all I’ve got for you all right now. I won’t have wifi access again until next week.