I will never forget one of the first times that I had an opportunity to teach the health curriculum that we had developed. We had put in a well outside a small church, and the women of the church and neighborhood came for the training that we offered. I taught with a translator, the pastor, whose smiles and laughter matched the women that I taught.
I laid my posters out on the dirt floor, and connected them by drawing with a stick, showing the pathways of disease. Then we discussed how those pathways can be blocked, no longer allowing waterborne disease to reach the child on the far side of our diagram. The women were so animated, my translator was unable to translate all their comments, but when it came time for questions and answers, I was gratified to find that they really had listened and learned well.
It was afterward, when one of the women came up and talked with me, that I really realized the power of what I had just shared… She grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Thank-you so much for coming to teach us today! I didn’t know that I was the one who was making my children sick!” She had never been taught the connection between lack of hand-washing and the spread of waterborne diseases. She, like many women here in Kenya, thought that her children having diarrhea on a regular basis was just a part of growing up. Her lightbulb moment during my class now had the potential to change the lives of her children!
Each and every time Hydrating Humanity installs a well, we teach the surrounding community how to use the clean water we provide to change the health and hygiene practices of their families. We now have four Kenyan and Tanzanian staff who are qualified to teach and train in the communities and schools. It is so thrilling that we have been able to empower them to make the changes that are so desperately needed here!
Field Trainer of Hydrating Humanity