Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Yesterday, a Tippy Tap. Today, a Kitchen!

by Patrick Tulibagenyi, WASH Program Manager

Mutesi mixing the sticky dirt
to lay the bricks.
She is mixing the mud and he is laying the bricks. One by one, together, they build a kitchen. As the final sanitation facility left to build, Mutesi and her husband Hatim glow with pride when they talk about the progress they have made over the last several months. Making time and saving money can be a slow process, but they worked diligently to make this a reality.

“My husband has been supportive every time I tell him about what we learn from the sensitizations,” says Mutesi. From educational sessions conducted by the VHTs and UVP staff the family has learned the benefit of having proper sanitation facilities. Just yesterday, VHT Shaban helped them construct a tippy tap (hand washing facility) just outside their latrine. When I passed by, it was full of water, had a full bar of soap next to it, and water on the bricks below: it had been used very recently.

Hatim using his skills
to expertly lay brick.
Before the sanitation campaign, Mutesi says, “We were not bothered and no one cared about the sanitation facilities, but after seeing what our neighbors were doing and the support of the VHTs, we had no option but to join the campaign.”

Although the kitchen was the last facility to be constructed, that doesn’t mean it was the least important. Without a kitchen, there was nowhere to cook when it rained, leaving the family hungry or to cook in the house, neither being a healthy option.

Twekembe! (Teamwork!)
Making healthy changes takes time: Hatim took time away from his job to help Mutesi construct the facilities. He sees the time away not as a loss, but a gain for his wife and their four children. He sees their health as his duty.

As residents of Bukakaire, Mutesi and Hatim have seen UVP around for three years, but changing behaviors takes time. With the support of their VHT, Hatim and Mutesi intend to maintain their sanitation facilities as a reminder their neighbors to take their own health seriously. Hatim concludes, “I would feel terrible if I had a guest visit my house and no latrine for them to ease themselves. That’s no way to appreciate your visitors.”

Mutesi shows the previous 'kitchen'.

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