Sunday, November 8, 2009

Work, Work and more Work : )

Things are going great. Busy but great. Just finished the 12 day PD hearth Nutritional Recuperation program in a nearby village and it went fantastic! The children are looking better than when they first came to the program. During the program different porridges were made each day and the women were very motivated. Most of them made it to every class. They made various porridges with crushed dry fish, soybeans, moringa, eggs, bananas, tomatoes, onions and peanuts. They were all mixed with sugar and oils to add calories and taste. They all came out tasting pretty good and sweet. They also were given information on various topics on malnutrition and child feeding practices such as handwashing, diarrhea, vaccinations, and the food groups. Here are few pics of the program.

This is an added image to the health mural.

Learning about the food groups.

Adding moringa to the porridges. You know I love moringa!

Bonne appetit!

A mother placing an energy food in it's proper food group.
Explaining the recipes and the importance of adequate nutritional content.
The head nurse taking the roll call of the women and their children in the program. Taken at the end of the program to ensure they stay through the whole session.

The pavilion is pretty much finished. I just have to put a sealer on the paint now to make it last. We already use the pavilion to give health formations during our womens' group meetings and other events at the health center. It pretty much is a collection of health topics such as the food groups, malaria prevention, vaccinations, handwashing, sanitation and water borne illnesses including diarrhea. I left out HIV/AIDS prevention for two reasons, I didn't have the authority to promote condom usage and safe sex in the mural. Most of the funding of the heatlh center is through a catholic monestary in a nearby town. No sense in mentioning HIV/AIDS if I can't talk about prevention. So instead, I have health education sessions on the subject in the village without the monetary support of the church. I was a little disappointed at first but we have to be flexible when we are talking about health. Since I am a rural community health volunteer, the information will always be readily available if the people themselves are looking for it. People in my village have been buying the condoms at the health center so that is encouraging. Here are some updated pics on the pavilion. Hope you can understand it. No words are added yet we hope the meaning is captured in the images.

World AIDS Day is coming up on December 1st and I am planning a big event on awareness. It will be a complete and comprehensive day on HIV/AIDS education that will include films, a presentation from a person living with HIV/AIDS, a discussion on HIV/AIDS stigmas myths and facts, condom demonstrations, songs, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling for people with positive results, and a question and answer dialouge. Soooooo, it will be a big day. And guess who will be in my village during the event?? The US Ambassator of Benin!!! WOW RIGHT!!?? I will be sure to put up pics later on. So right now, I'm in Cotonou working on a grant to fund my event. I'll be heading back tomorrow because I have to bring back mosquito nets for my village. They came up with the money upfront to purchase them and I'm soooo encouraged about that. They are taking charge of their health and are not depending on someone to give them something for free. The sad part is there are no mosquito nets in the region for people to buy at subsidized prices. At least not his time of year. So I feel fortunate to know of an organization where I can purchase them to bring back to my village. I can't buy enough for the whole village at the same time but this is my third trip so far with purchasing them.

School started again and I have spoken to the teachers in a nearby town about having health talks in their classrooms. They are on board and i start my first one in this village on Wednesday. The topic will be on handwashing. They will learn the proper way to do it (with soap and or ash, and washing BOTH hands, not just the right hand that they eat with.) They will learn about microbes and worms and it's relation to improper handwashing and the lack of. They will demonstrate handwashing in the classroom and learn a song. I am very excited about it. The children really enjoy this lesson and I look forward to working with a new school.

Soooo, things are going great! Busy but great! Sorry I haven't been online lately to update my blog. Hope people are not discouraged by the absence and are still gaining from my online journal. I could still really use your encouragement and prayers. Keep in touch and thank you for all the support.