Well, as you can see from Jenny’s Intro to Nairobi blog, there are a few differences between last week in Njabini and this week spent in Nairobi. The new setting afforded us some different challenges when it came to the community outreach aspect. Good Samaritan, the children’s home we worked with is in Soweto- a slum on the east side of Nairobi. Some of the differences for Soweto were a lack of running water- which when trying to institute a hand washing regiment can be quite a challenge!- and a greater disparity in the language gap- which, as you can imagine, makes teaching a class also very difficult.
But we pressed on, found a renewable source of usable water- which I’m sure you will find out more about in Kenneth’s post later- and began the process of building some tippy
Tippy Tap construction begins.
taps! After all the planning and reading up on how to make them, I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how they would turn out. I had never made one before and it was so simple, I didn’t want it to end up as something non-beneficial to meet the needs of the school. Anyway, we went and bought the bottles from a woman who sold them out of her small one bedroom home a few blocks from the school and returned and began their construction. (For those of you who have never heard of it, a tippy tap is an improvised water saving device used to wash your hands. It is made from a plastic bottle, a nail, and some string.)
So we make three for the school and begin setting them up in places where we feel like
Putting up the tippy taps
the kids would be most likely to use them, namely next to the latrines. So, after a few minutes of putting them up all around and “strategically locating” the taps, now came the most important point- “Are the kids seriously going to use them???”
To our extreme joy, yes the did. The kids all could reach them and even more perplexing, especially considering myself as a child- namely, dirty- the kids were overly excited about using them. You could see the excitement in their eyes and hear the sound of their laughter as they washed their hands and splashed water on each other… I’ve got to say, I feel like the tippy taps are going to be a great success as long as the water gets refilled- which we left our new friend and European volunteer Catherine in charge of.
Kiddo washing his hands!
Now that there were hand washing stations set up, time for some hygiene classes! The school is made up of two classrooms each housing three classes in them. So the older class was made up of the kids in classes 1,2 & 3 while the younger class was made up of nursery, pre-unit and kindergarten. In the older class, most, if not all, the kids spoke
Very worried about germs!!!
english and could readily understand what was being taught and they were all very excited about the prospect of being able to wash their hands. Of course when asked how long we should rub our hands with soap and water, there were a few calls of 3 hours or 45 mins, but they generally got the drift that you only need 30 seconds to one minute. HOWEVER, the younger class was a different experience all together. Because they were so young, and spoke very little english we asked Teacher Irene to translate as we began the hygiene class. She did a great job, but honestly I think it left a little to be desired. It’s hard to
Cuties Handwashing with Tippy Taps
translate and explain “germs”, “viruses”, “bacteria” & “parasites” to a bunch of 3-5 year olds. That, and the random clapping-in-unison they began to do in the middle of the talk may have shown their lack of following the talk. (But of course they’re way too cute ot ever be upset with.) But all in all, they eventually got the idea and we all went outside to learn how to wash our hands.
As you can tell, they got the hang of it:
PS. This is what the girls were doing while we were working so hard…
Mallorie's Kenyan hair
- Jenny’s Kenyan hair