Friday, October 11, 2013

“Water is very bad for one’s health. People in third world countries seem to drink nothing but water, and they are always dying.” ― Bauvard

Karen and John were both trained how to teach basic sanitation and hygiene in the U.S. about ten years ago.  At the time, both of them thought that what they were learning was so basic that there should be no one who did not have this information.  At the very first seminar we did here eight years ago, we learned how wrong we were.  Over a three-day period, we (Karen, John, Shaban, and others who have come on mission teams) teach nutrition, how to rehydrate babies with diarrhea, how the fly cycle works and why it is bad.  They teach about the importance of water and ways to filter it using both crude and sophisticated techniques, they teach the importance of the placement of outhouses (choos), and how important it is to wash your hands.  They teach much more than this and they teach it in a way that involves every participant in the program.  It was developed by LifeWater in California over two decades back and is still vital and important.  The people who come to learn discover things about mosquitos and even the arrangement of their village.  The Anglican Diocese for this area has asked Karen to teach one again on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd of this month at the Anglican center where our Australian friends live just a few hundred meters from us.  At the end of the workshop, every woman gets a free, pretreated mosquito net that can last up to five years.  At every single one of these, at least one woman will come up and thank Karen and tell her that she has saved a baby's life.  What we thought was such basic knowledge is not known here, and the people are so grateful to learn it.  One man said that they needed to rearrange their entire village to make use of what they had learned.  Karen's health isn't the best, and my cousin and seven others are coming on the 24th for a one-day visit, but Karen, trooper that she is (and with help from John and Shaban) could not say no.  It costs about $300 to do one of these and we need to feed those present and give them a place to sleep as well.  Still, what God asks of us we do even if we do have to make some adjustments and rearrangements to make everything work in the time and at the place we have.  It is just too important not to do.  The picture at the right is a workshop we did here just last year.  A doctor at the local hospital said that what these workshops do helps more than what they do at the hospital, prevention being so much more important than dealing with the disease after they get it.  We have done these in villages, under trees and tarps, in churches, old cotton warehouses, and here at our mission.  Whenever we can, we do another one.  If you see pictures of African children with flies covering their faces, they have not attended one of these workshops because the people don't know how bad flies are for their health.  It is just one of the many things we do when we can.  It's also something we are proud to do because it helps so many people and saves lives.
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