Monday, February 11, 2008

Shameless Plug

I spent this past weekend in St. Louis (former Senegalese capital) and have fallen head over heels in love with it. The weather, being near the water, the old French colonial architecture, the winding streets, the art. It's so much better than Dakar. No traffic, not as expensive, or polluted...point is, i'm sold and I'm thrilled that it's technically in my "region" (though I'm still 420K away from it).

But while here we ran into some British blokes, who are trekking all over Africa for a year in the most amazingly souped up landrover you've ever seen. They are privately funded and doing all kinds of challenges (running marathons, climbing mountains) all for the sake of charity. We visited their campement and had an amazing evening of music, drumming, and conversation with some local senegalese musicians, grilling up fish, throwing around several different languages etc.

So here is my shameless plug for their website:
They really are just the nicest of guys, out having an adventure of a lifetime and definitely worth following along.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Radio Show

For your entertainment I am including a sample of the health skits that we perform on our “Health Hour” Radio show every other Tuesday in the Matam region. It has been translated from Pulaar to English. It’s just to give you an idea of the level of “sophistication” of the kinds of health subjects we cover. I find them about a thousand times more entertaining when I read through the English version. It always sounds so ridiculous. But the message is what’s important and it really is a great way to reach a wide audience. Whenever we walk out of the radio station people always tell us that they listened or they’ll recite back to us some of what they heard. It feels great, that though the behavior might be slow, at least we’re getting the information out.

Narrator: Binta has a cold. Her head hurts and she coughs and sneezes a lot. She talks to her friend Hawa. Hawa gives her advice.
(Person coughing n sneezing)

Hawa: Binta how are you? Do you have a cold?
Binta: Peace only. Yes I have a cold. How are you?
Hawa: I’m fine Praise be to God. How are you doing with the tiredness?
Binta: I am in it. How is your house?
Hawa: They are all fine praise be to God. But Binta, I am so sorry. Are you sick?
Binta: Thank you Hawa. Having a cold is painful.
Hawa: You speak the truth Binta. I am very sorry
Binta: Every year when the wind comes I get a cold. My head hurts, I cough and sneeze a lot, and I am very tired. How can I prevent catching a cold?
Hawa: I am sorry Binta, I understand. Well, you can prevent catching a cold. Every day, before you eat, you must wash your hands with clean water and soap.
Binta: Why with soap? When I eat I wash my hands with water only.
Hawa: No Binta, water only is bad. Water alone does not kill germs. Soap kills germs which is very important because germs bring sicknesses like colds.
Binta: Huh? Really?
Hawa: Yes really. So if a person has a cold and coughs and sneezes a lot, he can spread his germs a lot in the lunch bowl or around the house. It is very important for a person with a cold to wash his hands often. Also, he must remember not to cough or sneeze on other people.
Binta: Thank you Hawa, you are good. I really understand now.
Hawa: But Binta, now because you do have a cold, you should eat lots of Vitamin C.
Binta: What’s Vitamin C?
Hawa: Vitamin C is a very good vitamin for curing and preventing colds. There is Vitamin C in oranges, lemons, tomatoes, Fosters, and mangoes.
Binta: Good. I am very happy, I like to eat all of those things! But Hawa, I think that the wind brings my colds. Do I speak the truth or not?
Hawa: Yes because if you have a cold, lots of wind and sand are very bad. It is better to avoid the wind. And to help cure your cold you should get lots of rest and drink lots of water to help the cold leave your body.
Binta: Thank you so much Hawa. Now I am going to rest, and not go outside because there is so much wind. I am going to drink lots of water and eat lots of Vitamin C and I will wash my hands with soap because I do not want to share my cold and my germs with other people.
Hawa: Good Binta, I am very happy. See you next time.
Binta: You are good Hawa. I greet your family.

I hope you all found that as funny as I do. Maybe some of you can come up with slightly more creative skits, but we’ve found that simplicity and repetition are paramount to people’s understanding and ability to commit our lessons to memory.