We checked in on Karima Primary, where we had done our first food drop on Friday, to monitor the porridge distribution. A big vat sat on a wood-fed fire in the dirt behind the school. A woman bent over the steaming porridge, hastily stirring it with a long, charred wooden stick.
Porridge was distributed youngest to oldest and the kindergarteners queued up first, eagerly holding their brightly colored plastic mugs. The line snaked up the hill giving each subsequent child a view of the food that awaited them.
Dorcas and I were each given a cup to try to make sure that it was being prepared properly. I waited for it to cool off a little and tried a few sips. It tasted pretty good! I set down what remained, vowing to come back and finish it in a minute, and headed up the hill to talk to some of the kids. They were too shy to talk to me, or didn’t understand what I was saying, or both, but really enjoyed seeing the photos I took of them.
1. Shower/bathe daily (18/32)
2. Brush teeth daily (24/32)
3. Wash hands before eating (26/32)
4. Wash hands after using the toilet (29/32)
5. Use soap when washing hands (17/32)
Then I showed them a video on my computer about germs and how they’re spread. In the video a man sneezes on his hand, then touches a door, which is later touched by a woman, who then touches donuts, which are then eaten by her and another man. At the end of the movie the woman washes her hands and the germs are washed down the sink. The germs are green and sing songs so you can see how they move from one location to another. When I found it online I remembered seeing it when I was little, so I figured it left a lasting effect on me. They laughed whenever the germs sang and were watching very attentively. Afterward I asked them how the spread of germs could have been prevented and one boy said the man should have washed his hands after he sneezed. I mentioned other ways like sneezing into his elbow instead of the palm of his hand.
Next we played a game I made up called “Name That Worm” where they had to match up the type of intestinal worm with where it can be found, how it gets inside of you, and the symptoms it causes. The main point was for them to look at where they are found and how they’re passed between people or food and people. The majority of the worms could be prevented by washing your hands before eating and after using the toilet which was the main take-away lesson. However, we ran out of time, I’m finding 35 minutes isn’t enough time to teach an entire health subject. I quickly summarized what I wanted them to learn about handwashing, but I think it left them slightly confused. I’m going to draw out a sequence of events for how people get intestinal worms at the beginning of next class to clarify.
Last week two girls submitted questions in the anonymous “Question Box” about menstruation and using pads. I talked to the health teacher before class and asked if the girls could stay after so I could address their questions. She said that would be great and went to ask for permission from the teachers to keep them after for a few minutes. When she returned she told me that they wanted me to address all of the girls at the school about that subject. They are going to have me teach them in the computer room so we can close the curtains and the boys can’t peek in and see what we’re talking about. One week I will speak to classes 7 and 8 and the next will be some of class 4 and classes 5 and 6. I asked if I could still keep just the health club girls after class to answer their questions because I figured they’d want an answer sooner rather than later, but she said they had “cleaning” at that time so I dropped the subject.
At the very beginning of class I answered some of their questions from the week before and told them if I hadn’t answered their question it was probably because it related to a health unit we would be covering later. I also told them that if they’d asked a question they’d like the answer to now, and they felt comfortable doing so, they could speak to me after class.
Two girls approached me, “Teacher, you didn’t answer our questions.”
“I’m sorry, was it a health question?” thinking that maybe they were the girls who’d asked me about menstruation.
“If you feel comfortable you can tell me what your question was and I can answer it now. You can write it down if you like.”
They shied away from the paper I handed them.
“Was the question about girls?” that seemed to peak their interest. “Was it about menstruation?” I asked.
One of the girls practically flew across the room. She jumped up and put her head down on the table, laughing nervously.
“Yes” they said.
I showed them a pad and the sticky back and explained how it’s used. A boy walked in just then and I quickly hid it so the girls wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. After he’d left another girl had shown up so I took it back out to show her. To make sure they understood I drew a picture of underwear on the blackboard and showed them where it’s placed. Just then more boys walked in. I quickly turned it into a smiley face, “Now they’ll never know what it is” I said. The girls giggled and thanked me.
As I promised last week, here are more interesting questions from this week’s Question Box:
“Which Grade do you get so as to be a pilot in USA?”
“Who is your cheif justice.”
Again I was asked, “Will you colonise Kenya again?” I guess I have to answer this next class.
“Is your family rich or poor”
“1. What is the first to the last prisdent in America.” Do you want me to list all of them?
“You can mary a Kenya wife or American wife which is you dream”
“what do you like wearing” Clothes?
I’d told them earlier in the class that I was 22 after getting a question about how old I was. One of the kids then asked me this “How many children do have? Are you married?”
I’d told them that one of the intestinal worms can be spread when someone who has them “scratches around the anus” and gets them on their hands. In response I was asked “Whey people sreach around the anus”
“1) Are These Germs the in USA”
And two questions that made me sad:
“can you take us to USA”
“1. Why are the Americans rich than Africans”