Monday, June 25, 2007

Day 286: Celebrating Health on the School's Anniversary

From Monday to Friday (June 25-29, 2007), and for many weeks preceeding this special week, Mushinos focused on the celebration surrounding their school's 29th anniversary. Before the building of the Musho school (which includes kindergarten, elementary and secondary grades) students in Musho had to go down off the mountain to study in Mancos, Yungay or Caraz.

So, today, Benjamin, Nancy, Yanet, Dora, and I joined forces and headed up the hill to the school yard to host the anniversary Feria Integral de Salud, the second ever since my counterpart started working in Musho 5 years ago.

I dusted off my Mariquita Cochinita (Dirty little Mary) story to read to the little kids (last used during a handwashing campaign in April and at the World Health Day fair on April 9th). The story tells of a little girl who loves to get dirty. She doesn't wash her hands, or the fruit that she eats. She drinks water right out of the river, and poops in the fields. As a result, a terrible parasite named Valentin Matasanos (health-killer) climbs onboard her apple and enters her tummy, creating a yucky case of diarrhea. Her parents take her to the health post and she gets some medicine to make her better. She ends up learning the hard way that she should wash her hands after going to the bathroom and before eating, use a sanitary latrine, and wear shoes.
After reading the story we analyzed the cleanliness of our hands and ran off to the sinks with a bar of soap to learn a few best practices for hand washing... Sudz up, all around, clean out those fingernails, in between your grubby fingers, keep going, sing a song (pin pon :) ), and then do the air dry dance!

Nancy, our obstetrician, gathered up the adolescents and walked them through the trials and tribulations, causes and consequenses of teen-pregnancy.

Dora, a visiting nurse, played The Price is Right (kinda) with another group of students, asking them fun questions about nutrition, hygiene, mental health, and fun facts about the health post.

Yanet, the health post's technician, played a Jeapordy-type game with a bunch of students. Her categories were Diarrhea, Respiratory Infections, HIV/AIDS, Yellow Fever, Tuberculosis, and Bonus.
And Benjamin, our environmental health specialist, led the students in a game on solid waste management. In this game, students learn not only the terminology but also the importance of recycling and compost... and the dangers of burning plastics, the waste of burning crop waste, and the negative effects of throwing garbage in the river.