Healthy Schools

By now you might wonder what my work in the Peace Corps’ Healthy Schools Project  involves. I began this discussion in my earlier post “First School Visits.” My work has been evolving along with my Spanish. At first I noticed dread in the faces of the teachers when they listened to my poor Spanish. It must have sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. But now I can rattle along comfortably even though my Spanish skill level is only intermediate.

The other day, one of my assigned schools celebrated Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna which was a celebration on one’s first language. The celebration focused on K’iche which is what is spoken in my town. I have lots of photos of students at school but I cannot publish them without parent consent. So just imagine adorable, clever, funny kids!

My latest project is a Healthy Schools Diplomado which will begin in April. It will be a monthly class for educators. I’m coordinating the series with a JICA volunteer and a nurse from the local health center. We’ve had a great response from teachers and I’m excited to see it all unfold. The purpose of the series is to provide teachers with healthy schools information that they can teach in their classrooms.

I’m also writing a grant proposal to build a new classroom at one of my assigned schools. It’s a project that involves a lot of community team players. I have to walk a fine line between learning and sharing vital information while simultaneously, following the lead of the community key players. It’s a learning curve for me to work on a construction project. It makes me think of my dad who worked in construction for many years before his untimely death when I was still a teen. Lately, I’ve been asking lots of questions from engineers and a good friend who studied architecture.

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Photo:  A member of Engineers Without Borders, measured the ground for the classroom that we hope to build. We will plan and write it up into a grant proposal and keep our fingers crossed. Wish us luck!

I could say a lot more about my work and the schools and the wonderful teachers and beautiful children, but I’m just home from a four hour bus trip. This weekend I coordinated a workshop for 30 Peace Corps Volunteers at the lake. It was facilitated by Gail Basham, CEO of an NGO called More Than Self. She taught us how to sew reusable feminine hygiene pads which we will then teach to indigenous women in our communities. Gail carried two huge duffel bags of materials from the U.S. to us! Her dedication is inspiring. The workshop was fabulous and now, after my bumpy bus ride home, it’s time to rest and watch a movie.

By the way, I want to say THANK YOU to my mother, Eva, and my brother, Michael, for sending me a camera! Now take close-up photos again!

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Above is a photo of the pad closed, ready to tuck into one’s purse. To the right is the pad opened, and next to it, a cloth that is folded and tucked into the open pad.

Cheers to all of you that visit this blog!

 

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