Little Victories

Written on July 16, 2012

On my way home from pasear-ing... (oh! 'pasear'- to walk around to other people's houses to chat and eat/drink whatever they give you and explain who I am and what I am doing here. aka what I spend almost all of my days doing right now as I get to know the people of my community) Anway. On my way home from pasearing, 3 little kids about 5 years old start yelling my name so I walk over to say hello and teach them how to 'Da me cinco' (gimme 5) But they are really distracted and excited about something and suddenly take off running telling me to follow. They were headed towards our composting latrine. I  was so confused. The gate to the office was open and the door to the actual latrine to the side to it was unlatched- both of which are normally closed up. My first thought was that the kids had thrown something or someone in it. They are 5 years old, and if it were me, that's what I would do. So I started getting really concerned. I protect that thing like a child because it is the only current 'living' example of the project we are trying to implement, and more selfishly, it is the one thing standing between me and the river as far as doing business goes.

When I get inside the gate the kids reappear from around the corner of the office to make sure that I am following, then run into the latrine. As I come around the corner of the building I hear another voice shouting from within the latrine as the 3 little ones try to fit through the doorway at once. I immediately try to shoo the kids out and pretty soon a 9 year old boy comes out, makes eye contact with me for a second and smiles sheepishly, then throws one of the 5 year olds over his shoulder and walk away. Finally, all of the puzzle pieces fell together in my head.

The Friday before this even, the current Volunteer in site, a volunteer visiting our site, and I did a puppet show for the school about how germs and bacteria are transmitted from poop in a field to mosquitos, to hands, to food, to water, and then into our bodies. As 'Senorita Salud', I taught the ailing Kayla how to kill poophead Moiz 3 different ways- chlorinating river water, washing hands, and using a composting latrine. Through a silly, theatrical presentation, we actually taught something to those kids that day. It was only 1 little boy pooping in a latrine, but it was 3 more so excited about it they sought me out to show me.

When I got home after all this and sat down to eat dinner I couldn't stop grinning. Then I almost choked on my rice laughing as I realized, I finally have an answer to the question I've been asked hundreds if times since I started applying for college: What are you doing to do with a theatre degree?

I'm going to teach little kids to poop in a latrine, that's what.

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