Thursday, October 15, 2009

Health Evaluation Hike Time

It is Health Evaluation Hike Time. This week with Tula and the presidents of the 4 village banks we are making the rounds. Visiting every participant's house and evaluating their progress. In the beginning of our Health Project in May, Tula made a Health Promise sheet with each family where they discussed the improvements the family wanted to make in their houses and who was going to be in charge of making those changes. As we hiked house to house, not only were the Health Promise sheets full, but the changes were evident. Humble families with little income increased the size of their kitchen (or in some cases built a new kitchen!), organized their kitchen utensils and cooking supplies, separated children bedrooms from their parents and even built brand new latrines! Many of the improvements required some money, but more so TIME. The families met with Tula every other week to learn about a new health topic related to their house and their daily hygiene habits. Tula gave the families homework and each women then went home to find out how she was going to implement the house homework in her house.The health promise sheet is full!!!
Seperating Adult and children's beds with plastic curtain to create "bedrooms."

Yosebia uses an old fridge to store her plates, cups and cooking supplies. This latrine top was made out of an old beer sign.

Tula with Andrea in her new kitchen - hot lunch is just coming off the stove!
I was really surprised and touched to see such grand improvements in spaces that according to Melchora, "We never received this kinda of help before where we live. Nobody cared enough to show us these things." I know Tula worked long and hard with some of our families to get them motivated and out of the "I don't have money for this" mentality. Only a couple of weeks ago there were families without roofs on the kitchen and animals (pigs, chickens, etc..) running around freely. Now there are rooftops and animal corals. Some corals made out of un-used wood or cut up rice bags. The same with kitchen walls - Covered with cardboard and newspaper. Granted, there are a few cases where the families just couldn't fill up their Health Promise sheet - alcoholism in some families, another woman abandoned by her husband - but, these cases call for help above and beyond the scoop of our health project.

From what I witnessed from our Door to Door evaluation was one long success story. Families in poverty making huge changes in their homes and lifestyles. Washing hands. Drinking boiled water. Cooking in a smoke-less kitchen and preventing respiratory illnesses. Creating separate spaces for animals. Covering their latrine opening and placing toilet paper (or whatever paper they have) inside their latrine. It was as if I entered into completely different houses compared to only 6 months ago. With Tula's great energy and motivation, I give witness that change can happen in the humblest of place. You just need someone to care, someone to give of their time, and to show people that there is in fact another way to live. Through this project we recognized the dignity of each of the 30 families that participated and gave them the tools and ideas to make changes in their own lives. And, they did!
Paz and Praise to all our 30 families! ~ Nora

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