Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stories from the Field: Understanding Community Work in Kazigo B

By Emily Maheux

This week in Kazigo B, we felt very productive.  We started our baseline surveys, which consisted of introducing ourselves and our program and then checking the facilities.  We assessed the kitchens, latrines, wash rooms, tippy taps, trash pits, and plate stands of each household.  We found that most homes had excellent kitchens but unclean latrines and wash rooms.  We saw only a couple of tippy taps after visiting over 70 households but more had trash pits and plate stands.  We also asked questions about the needs of the community and consistently found that malaria was the most prevalent health concern.  Later in the day, after visiting the households, we were thrilled to find that three different families were building plate stands!  For those who might be confused, a plate stand is a two-shelved stand, made with sticks, which provides a space off the ground for dishes to dry and avoid bacteria.  A tippy tap is a small contraption with a jerry can that allows people to wash their hands without touching the jerry can itself. 

Another highlight was our community meeting.  The final attendance sheet read 125 names, including our team, which we felt to be a huge success for such a small village.  Our biggest challenge of the week was a scheduled sensitization at Kazigo Junior School, the private school in Kazigo B.  We planned three activities that explained the nature of germs.  First, showing how when ash gets on one’s hands and then you shake hands with others, it spreads, just as germs do.  Second, when salt is added to water, it becomes invisible, just as germs in water can be, but they are still present and capable of getting people sick.  Third, when oil is on hands, washing with water does not always clean it from your hands.  Similarly, germs often times need soap to be removed.  We planned and practiced for this sensitization but arrived at the school to find most of the kids gone and the choir practice starting.  Instead of teaching about sanitation, we enjoyed an exciting performance from the choir and will be very ready for the rescheduled sensitization next week.  Overall, I think we are starting to understand the nature of our community work and how we can best serve Kazigo B.   

Emily, Simon-Peter, Daniel, Corrie, Gloria, and Lauren are interns working in Kazigo B this summer.

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