Make a Connection. Open Avenues. Become a Bridge.

2nd Day of WASH Training

The second day of the training again I woke up early. There is no hot water
in the village, so with cold water we prepare ourselves for our day.  Djoumai
Badamassi, the trainer from Crepa is wearing a beautiful outfit with a head
wrap.  By the time I come out, around 6:15 am, the breakfast table is being
set for about 10 people.  Around 7:30 onwards, the ladies start to file in.
Afi Abalo, one of our participants is very funny and keeping the group in
good cheer with stories and jokes.  I am also delighted and humbled when I
look at the three babies that came with their mothers.  Afi Abalo had a two
year old son, Mahasse Awomba had a 15 month old, and Afi Agbokli had a 3
year old daughter.  I am inspired by these ladies, without a whole lot of
fuss, these women lead numerous responsibilities at home to come here and
even when they do this, they still have active duties which require that
they multitask.  They just don’t claim the acknowledgment of doing so.

We begin our day with Djoumai going into sanitation and hygiene in depth.  The
trainers and I came to the realization that in order to be more effective,
if would need to do the training in the vernacular, which is local language
of Ewe.  This choice would mean more work for the training organizers and
team.  This required also that we adapt the method we were going to use to
conduct our surveys and changed it from written to verbal documentation.  Our
target population is rural, if we were to require that the women work with
speak, French, it would reduce the pool of potential women leaders.  Many of
these women may not have formal education, but they are the backbone of many
of these communities and have intrinsic knowledge of them and of what to do
to survive and live and have been doing so for many generations.

One of the unique aspects of our approach is that we are flexible and
embrace adaptation when necessary to realize the maximum effectiveness of
our project.

Today was also the day that we learned about the hand washing stand that
CREPA provided.  It was amazing, basically a natural sink where you have two
poles and a connecting third pole on top.  You take two plastic 8 ounce cups
and put small hole at the bottom.  You have a pail of water and wires
connected to the cups to use as handles.  You take the cup with the handles
and put it in the pail of water, hook the cup onto the stand and put your
hands underneath the cup; water comes out to wash your hands.  And imagine
that the participants were further delighted to be able to use ash to clean
ones hands.

As the day went on and concluded, I would say the second day is when the
reality of the training sunk in for everyone.  Trainers are aiming to teach
their best, and trainees are focused and concentrated on learning.  Today
was also the day that the group starts to let their guards down a little and
interact with more easily than the first day.  Today we all realized, “okay
we are in this together”. After dinner, Djoumai and I and our assistant,
were pleasantly surprised when the women started to sing and dance.  Everyone
started clapping and I joined in with my heart full of joy!  And the women
sang traditional songs, the call and response, and it was so moving.  Afi
Abalo would sing a phrase and the rest of the women would respond and back
and forth.  To me, the moment when all the women started to sing, is when
the village divide become less relevant.  In that women we were just women,
African women at that.  Afi Agbokli's  little girl  also danced, in her
little dress, with her 3 year old arms, looking like a little angel.

Today was a great day!



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