Thursday, May 10, 2012

Malaria and HIV

May 3rd

Sensibilization mania! I went to Ecole C in the morning with my ASCs for a 40 minute malaria talk. It went pretty well, but I'm learning that malaria is a subject best tackled with only 2 or 3 ASCs instead of 6, there's just not enough for everyone to have something to say on the topic compared to hygiene where each person could pick a different aspect to talk about. Still, this was the first time all month that all 6 have shown up, so I maintain that it's better to plan for 6 and have one day where people feel redundant than to plan for 2 people and have neither show up.

We got back to the CSPS by 9:30 and I watched them finish weighing and vaccinating the babies. One of the interns has started doing small causaries before PAM and baby weighing, which makes me so happy! Even if he's not my favorite person in the world, I appreciate that he's putting in the extra effort to use the large gathering of women to teach something, particularly since I've been trying unsuccessfully to convince my staff to do this for the past year.

Kalsoum and two of her friends came by during the repose to bring me some food! I forget what it's called, gnaore? She said it's made from benga, but had a wonderful texture, kind of like tofurkey, actually. Mayuure kept insisting that I couldn't learn how to make it, but I'll ask Kalsoum one on one and I bet she could explain it to me. I thought it was delicious and happily ate all of it while the three of them sat and chatted to me and to each other.

This afternoon brought a return to Ecole C, this time with Mariam and Belem to talk to the CM2 about HIV. It was...informative. Belem did a lot of repetition, I think we said nearly everything at least 10 times (I'm not exaggerating). Apparently it was necessary, because even in the end we would ask a very basic question and no one was willing to answer. She finally resorted to asking a question and then calling on people to answer but then stay standing. Once the answer was complete to her satisfaction, they would each repeat their piece of the answer in order over and over to the class. Then another question, and so on. Boring as all get out for me, but I guess it seemed to be working in a painful blunt-force manner of forcing them to hear the information enough times to be able to recite it back even if they didn't actually absorb it completely. We did the whole thing in French, only to have the teacher (who was also speaking French the whole time) tell us at the end that the students don't understand French very well. Goodness, if you'd said that at the beginning instead of talking in French to them, we would have done it in Moore! It ended on a high note when they did one of those fancy rhythmic claps to thank us for coming, and we all left smiling.

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