May 28, 2016

Day 2 at Pongwe Primary School was somehow even more fun (and productive) than yesterday! We weren’t able to help with construction of the dorm today because the contractor was still working on building and placing formwork for the beams, which will hopefully be poured tomorrow. Siri and Xoab initiated a project to use scraps of wood leftover from the scaffolding and formwork to create step-stools for the smaller girls to use to be able to reach the sinks in the new latrine, which will hopefully encourage them to wash their hands after they use the toilet.

Since it is Saturday, the only children at the school were the ones that board there year-round, as well as the matron and her children. We were thus able to better focus on the girls with visual impairments (who we are building the dorm for) without having to single them out from the rest of their peers, and also without the distraction of all the other students running around the campus. The objective of Sara’s curriculum today was to teach the girls’ some new rules for the bathroom that last year’s team built, and to help them become more comfortable with the new environment. We started out by playing a fun “Name Game,” where we all stood in a circle and had to go around and say our own names as fast as possible, one after another. The goal of this activity was to give each girl a chance to have her own voice heard in a group. Fortunately, today we had the help of Emmanual, from TEV, who speaks very good English and was able to translate the instructions and questions to the girls, so we definitely felt like they were able to be more engaged in the activities.

The next game we played was “Simon Says,” which is a great game for students with visual-impairments because they have to focus on listening to instructions rather than watching and copying someone else. We also used this as an opportunity to teach them some commands in English, such as “run,” “jump,” “touch,” and “shake.” This game took a little while for the girls to understand, but once they figured it out they seemed to have a lot of fun. We used this game as a segue into the day’s lesson about following rules.

After the games, we acted out skits to explain the bathroom rules to the girls, which were: 1) Walk, Don’t Run, 2) Flush the Toilet After Using, and 3) Wash Your Hands. We acted out incorrect scenarios for each rule, and had the girls tell us whether it was correct (sawa) or incorrect (siosawa). We then asked for volunteers to act out the correct ways to follow the rules. The girls had a lot of fun with this, since potty humor tends to transcend all cultural boundaries! They were very engaged and eager to volunteer, and had warmed up to us a lot by the end. Even some of the older girls were participating, which is great because the younger girls will look up to them in how to take care of their new latrine. After going over the rules we walked over to the new bathroom and gave them a tour of it so they would be more comfortable using it. We later saw a lot of the girls using it on their own, so we are very hopeful that they will continue to use it after we leave and it will be a sustainable project.

After leaving Pongwe for the day, we headed back to the hostel for showers (yay for having water today!!) and dinner (delicious, per usual). Mohamed then took us to a dress-makers shop, where he has taken the past two teams for souvenirs. We were able to pick out our own fabric and then the lady who owned the shop will make it into whatever style we want! I am very excited to see how they turn out!

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