She sent for the head English teacher, who turned out to be the same teacher I’d talked to last week. They agreed that the materials should be left with them and they would, starting in a week, instruct the other English teachers to run the program.
“Do you think they’ll actually do it?” I asked Dorcas as we left, fearing her answer.
“No, probably not, but we will see in a week.”
That afternoon after my second computer class at Makena, in which another new keyboard didn’t work, I had a health club lesson at Karima Primary. I started the lesson by asking the students where they get their water from at home; most of them get it from the river or from a well. Next I started the same demonstration I’d done last week at Kaaga Primary. I asked for a volunteer to get me a glass of clean water and he returned with a murky light-brown liquid. This was going to make things interesting.
“At the beginning of class I asked for a glass of clean water. Is this clean water?” I asked the class.
“Yes” they replied.
“How do you know it’s clean?”
A boy raised his hand, “It’s dirty.” Scattered murmurs agreed.
“So this water is dirty?” Well that changes things.
“Yes” the class agreed.
“Would you drink this water?”
A couple of people said “Yes”.
“Raise your hand if you would drink this water.” Most of the class raised their hands.
“So you know this water is dirty and you would still drink it?”
The class reaffirmed that they would knowingly drink the dirty water.
The rest of the demonstration didn’t really make sense since I was supposed to start with a glass of clean water which I would make unsafe to drink by adding dirt.
The remainder of the class I spent talking about stomach worms, drawing on the board cartoons of how they can be spread. They agreed that washing their hands after using the toilet and before eating were two good ways to prevent them. We also talked about fully cooking food to kill the worm eggs and making sure to boil or purify water before drinking it. Then I went on to list some other ways to prevent stomach worms as well as general tips for being clean and healthy.
“3. Brush teeth after every meal” I wrote on the board.
The teacher laughed, “They do not have brushes.”
I asked the class to raise their hands if they brush their teeth, most did. This was not the best method of finding out whether they own toothbrushes as many might have raised their hands feeling that it was the correct answer or one which I wanted to hear. Next class I’m going to take another anonymous poll to see whether they have access to toothbrushes, toothpaste, or soap at home.
It’s hard to teach these kids basic cleanliness if they don’t have or can’t afford to buy some of those things which we find essential to personal hygiene. If I find out from the poll that they students can’t afford these things, I’m going to find a way to get them for them. Only problem is, after I leave and after they run out, where will they get more?
“How can you breath clean air or wipe away crerms on the air”
“What name of the germ wich people eat”
“if you dont brush you teeth at all what happens?”
“WHAT IS A NUTRITION?”
“WHAT SHALL A PERSON DO IF HE OR SHE HAD NOT HAVE A SOAP.”
“why should we move far when somebody is spraying” Spraying what?
“The people that have already start adolesent is it must that they shower daily?”
“EVERY BODY MUST WASH HANDS AFTER TOILET”
When writing the health topics on the board last class I abbreviated “Introduction” and wrote “Intro”. Two kids wrote questions asking what it meant. While they were filling out their questions today I explained that “Intro” was short for “Introduction”. Some students had already passed in their questions and two boys looked at each other and started giggling. These must have been their questions:
“what is means of INTRO in Health club.”
“WHAT IS AN INTRO?”
I guess they’d been wondering that for over a week. Well I won’t be using abbreviations anymore.
The last and most puzzling question was this, “What can a PeRson do when he eats HiV”. That’s definitely going to be an interesting but challenging topic to teach.