This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for awhile, but have held off on because I’m chwia (‘a little’) superstitious. I didn’t want to jinx my project or get my hopes up. But the time has come…
Family, friends, fellow PCV’s, strangers, followers, people who stumbled upon my blog through a Google search on accident, I hereby pronounce 2013: The Year of the Turk.
After months of prep work, writing (grant writing is one of the most taxing things I’ve ever done), and hoping my counterpart and I have received a grant for $3,500 to restore some latrines and provide health education at a primary school in a nearby village.
Here’s the fancy description.
“This project has two specific goals in mind, first, to provide 122 students and faculty in a small village with access and the ability to use 4 clean and functioning latrines and 2 washbasins (currently there are none). Second, this project hopes to educate these beneficiaries insofar as they will adopt behaviors and practices that will reduce illness and reflect healthy choices. This is a project identified by the community and designed with youth needs in mind. For their part the community will donate materials, such as bricks and metal building wire, as well as contribute their time towards activities associated with labor. The potential impact for this project is limitless and education is at its forefront. Beyond the physical change of what 4 restored latrines and 2 washbasins will mean to this community, the potential exists for knowledge to disseminate. Knowledge of hand washing, knowledge of volunteerism, knowledge of how to identify a community need and design a project around meeting that need, etc.- all of these things and more. As such, this project has 4 components: an initial planning and meeting stage to review project logistics and establish a set timeline, a health fair to be held at the school in conjunction with students from my Dar Chebab and other Peace Corps Volunteers, the actual building of latrines and washbasins, and a follow up period to discuss how to move forward and ensure the sustainability of this project.”
“At present, there are 57 boys and 57 girls that attend the school in addition to four male teachers, two female teachers, and two additional female staff. Currently, there are no working latrines or sinks for use. As a result, many students are forced to relieve themselves in nearby fields or simply wait until they return home. During inclement weather especially, students at the school are prone to ‘accidents’ which often cause shame and embarrassment. As is evident, there are several health and environmental concerns at work which propel this project forward as a priority for the community. In terms of health, many students run the risk of obtaining urinary tract and other infections if they choose to wait till school’s end to relieve themselves. Waiting also compromises their ability to focus on their studies. With respect to the environment, there are many concerns regarding the disposal of human excrement in nearby fields. Diseases, such as diarrhea and intestinal parasites which are spread through contact with human feces, contaminated water sources or food, and by flies that thrive near outdoor defecation areas, are common in the village.”
Cliff notes version: Diarrhea sucks. So does having to ‘hold it.’ Don’t even get me started on ‘going’ in the fields.
So we’re fixing the bathrooms.
And hosting a health fair.
So everyone can do their business happily and safeguard their health with newfound knowledge.
‘Fhmti?’ Do you understand?
Ready, set, go.