Thankfully I like to laugh at myself, especially when embarrassing or unexpected things happen to me. Over these past 2 weeks I have had the pleasure of being able to laugh A LOT.
Last year I did some teachings, on Community Health, at two Togolese churches. Well after these past 2 weeks of living here in Africa I can see I have a lot of revising to do.
Get ready to laugh, at me.
Handwashing: Seems simple right well try doing it by yourself with no running water. I dip the little bowl into the large water basin. I then dip my dirty hand into the little bowl and then lather with soap. I then grab the bowl, that is dirty because I grabbed it with my dirty hand, and rinse off one hand. One clean hand. I then grab the bowl with my CLEAN hand, but the bowl is dirty to try and rinse off my other soapy hand, that is also dirty from the bowl. So in the end what do I get, but TWO dirty hands. Hmm this one will be a tough one to revise.
Malaria/Bed nets: 100% I support bed nets but I now can see why people don’t want to use them. When you are trying to fall asleep and the temperature is 80 degrees and your only chance of cooling down is a small aluminum fan that is pushing 75 degree air at you, the idea of having a big mesh net blocking that breeze is pretty annoying.
Burn prevention: Open fires are still a huge problem here in Africa but the wonderful lesson that I learned this week was not about fire burns. So like, all I wanted to do was warm up some water for some tea. As I reached to plug in the cord….. zap… Yep that’s right I electrocuted myself. No, I didn’t get burned but if it was a bad cord and if I was a little kid it could have been a much different story.
Infection control: hahah… ohh goodness… this list is to long so instead I will tell you the one that I find the funniest. So Alida and myself were at work and when I got back home I walked into our room and had a little surprise. Oceane, Alida’s dog, had a little temper tantrum in the room and decided to leave me a present. Oceane pooped on my pillow. I laugh because if not I may cry.. hahah
(You can see the guilt in her eyes!)
Nutrition: The place where I am staying is about 60-90 minutes away from Lome, Togo’s capital. The last 35-45 minutes of that drive is all dusty crappy roads. Due to this there are only certain foods available in the area that I am living which means my nutritional status is not so good. This is true in most parts of rural Africa, that whatever is grown in your area that is what you eat. Yes of course you can drive to a local super market but the prices there are standard with that of the US. i.e. Cereal 6 USD. So I have been eating a ton of yams, pasta, cassava, corn powder, tomatoes, palm oil, vegetable oil, plantains, and rice. But go figure the two things that I crave the most protein and fruits are either rare or realllllly expensive. Alida has been good in trying to supplement my malnutrition. Hence I have been eating a lot of street meat, FRESH fish, and canned sardines. ;0) hahahhaha
This is all I can bear to tell you at this time but believe me there is much much more I could tell. But this is kind of like a Comedy show and if I gave you all my funny stories right away then I would have nothing left to keep you coming back.
Honestly though this has been an eye opening experience and I can see now why there are certain issues in West Africa. It is easy as an outsider to come in and to say “This is how, why, when, who, where, you should do it.” But having never walked in the shoes of that person I see now ignorant and insensitive I have been in the lessons I have done. I don’t regret ANY of the things that I taught because hopefully the students were able to adjust my teachings to make it appropriate for their living situations. But I can see now that I definitely have my work ahead of me over the next few months and hopefully years of doing community health teachings.
A matter of belief
3 years ago