This past fall I started a Health Club at the Junior High in my village. The headmaster and other teachers were very supportive and the students very active in the club. We spent much of last term talking about HIV and other related issues. This term, I decided we would spend more time talking about sanitation and hygiene, especially since the environmental health people were getting ready to come in for CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation).
Well, CLTS flopped. The opinion leaders (chiefs, elders, etc) of the village were unwilling to even attend a community meeting to discuss it, even though we rescheduled multiple times to accommidate them. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty pissed off about that. But I'm taking solace in what the students have been up to.
For our first meeting of the new term, I talked to them about how to build soak-away pits. These are pits dug behind the bathing areas (or other places where water drains) then filled with stones, which help eliminate mosquito breeding areas and disgusting stagnant water smells. The students helped me to fix my own, after which I gave them a challenge. I have a nice new Adidas soccer ball that someone sent me, and I told the students that if they built at least 30 soak-away pits, I would donate it to the school team.
Well, soccer (or football, as we call it here) is pretty much a religion in Ghana. People are especially excited right now because Ghana's Black Stars are about to go head to head with defending champions Egypt at the African Cup of Nations final, tonight at 1600 GMT. It only took the students a week and a half to get the 30 pits dug and filled with stones. If they can do thirty, why can't they do more? I therefore told them as I was giving them the football that if they reach 50 in the next couple weeks, I'll come up with something else to give them.
What I'm thinking is jerseys. Here's where you guys come in. Does anyone know of a group which would like to donate two sets of jerseys to my kids? If so, contact me via email, blog, facebook, phone, telepathy, or whatever.
That's all for now. I have to go find a good place to watch the game. Super Bowl? Who cares. Let's go Black Stars!
PS - I just uploaded a bunch of pictures from December and January to flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/hannahefrank