Picking up speed
The past few days, as I’m starting to wrap up my project (only two weeks left!), I’m focusing on sustainability. I feel like I’ve done a decent job of getting people in Haripuram and Bhogapuram to start thinking about hygiene issues (especially handwashing), but it has to stick. I’ve been working with the youth groups in both villages (Haripuram’s youth group stopped meeting, so I’ve gotten them to start meeting again) to get them to push the kids in the village.
The drawing activities worked well (did it again today in Haripuram). I relearned a valuable lesson today about doing any kind of fieldwork. If it’s hard to get going, just start doing it, and things will fall into place. Today was a great example. It was really hard in the beginning to get the kids to start coming to draw posters about handwashing, but once we got started at the village temple, everyone started to notice how fun it looked, and more and more kids came, to the point where I didn’t have enough paper (we ended up with 35+ drawings)! Just like we did in Bhogapuram, we’ll be putting them up in front of the school.
Getting teachers in on the push is another part of the effort we started (the youth groups and myself). Today, I got the schoolteacher in Bhogapuram to agree to teach the kids about washing hands everyday. She in fact even wrote a quick message on the corner of the board about it, saying that she’d get soap tomorrow so that all the kids could wash their hands with soap before the mid-day meal. I don’t know if she’ll really do this, but the guys in the youth group will follow up.
I’m sad to see the project coming to a close, but it is really exhilarating to see what I’ve done starting to pick up momentum.