"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." - Jawaharlal Nehru

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On the uP and uP!


I have so much good news that I want to tell you all, so much that I'm about to explode with excitement.  I just had four successful and productive meetings with potential partners of a few projects that I have been hiding up my sleeve.  So.. I was inspired to write a post about it.

The primary health team in my village, mainly my counterpart (Demba Secka) - the community health nurse, have decided to have the first ever Health School for Women in Bati Njol!  The school will take place in January for 6-months and includes 5-MAJOR health topics.  Each month will have a different health topic dedicated to it complete with songs, drama, classroom style learning and fun ways to see what the women have retained (like practicals/exams).  Keep in mind that none of these women have ever been to school, or if they have it was while they were under 15 years of age and have not continued past that.  You can imagine how fun it will be to have almost 100 women "enroll" in the school, have a competition point card (gain and lose points for certain things), and attend CLASS.

The topics include:

1.  Nutrition - benefits of moringa, three major food groups, adding variety to the food bowl, nutritional benefits to local dishes and foods, and weaning foods for babies
2.  Personal Hygeine / Preventing Illness - basic first aid, hand washing, oral rehydration solution, coveringa  cough, brushing teeth, cutting fingernails
3.  Reproductive and Child Health - how to read a clinic card, exclusive breastfeeding, male & female anatomy, menstruation and pregnancy, birth spacing, birth control options
4.  Environmental Sanitation - proper trash disposal, compound sanitation and maintenance, pit latrines, open defication
5. Malaria - transmission education, signs & symptoms, neem cream, mosquito bed-net care and usage, weeding compounds and eliminating stagnant water, care-seeking behaviors

I am also linking up with a local lower-basic school to form a health club, so they can join in on the Health School festivites!  And for the best news of all, The Bati Njol Health School for women has now been funded by FRiends Of Gambian Schools (FROGS) - and organization based out of England!  I came across a God-send of a woman who fell in love with the idea of a Health School up-country for women and helped me figure out funding and logistics.

I will not be teaching any of the lessons.  The other wonderful thing about this project is the fact that it will be community led and implemented.  My counterpart, Demba, has volunteered the 6-months to teaching the lessons ON TOP of all of his work being the community health nurse.  He's my hero.  This will allow me to be in the shadows, helping to develop the lesson plans and figure out all the "behind the scenes" work to make this school roll smoothly.

Rest assured, I will be keeping you all updated on the progress of the school.  Yay for good news, eh?!  Also in the world of meetings today, I have met up with the American Embassy in hopes of getting a vegetable and fruit market funded for Bati Njol.  So much produce, nowhere to sell... we'll see how this goes! 

I feel like a real Peace Corps Volunteer!!

On top of all this work to come, I was able to work at an amazing camp run by Peace Corps volunteers - my coworkers.  The camp was called "CAMP GAGA" (Girls About Global Awareness) and blended lifeskills curriculum with environmental education.  I helped to teach a few sessions and run activities & games.  It was so much fun I am finally starting to get over my fear of public speaking.

Outside of the "work" world, I have picked up a new hobby and introduced it to my village. HOOPING.  Yes, hula hooping.  I found some local materials, had a friend help me put it together, and the magic happened from there.  The women and children have learned to LOVE it, and so do I.  I want to get really good at hooping, full of tricks and fancy spinning stuffs.  I've also been making dream catchers out of trash and beads sent from home (THANKS SID!).  Ubbb, frisbeeing with kids is fun too.  I know, I know - I am still a 5-year old.

So that's just about it kids.  I want to post pictures but internet is not strong here.  Soon soon I will post pictures of hula hooping and frisbee throwing kids, including myself.  Peace and Love

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