Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hygiene Training: "Tas" (Cards)

At the end of the trainings, we asked the kids, "What was your favorite part of the training?" Without hesitation, and in unison, they shout, "TAS!!". To Nepali kids, cards means games, and they can pretend to gamble, tossing each card on the table with conviction, maybe evoking a grumble from the other players. Our version of tas is a little different than they one they thought they were going to play.

One the backs, we've printed "Sabun pani haat, sadhai sath sath" - "Soap water hands, always together". One the fronts are pictures from the F-Diagram. The F-Diagram is a tool used to demonstrate how germs get into our bodies through various routes. It's original members - fingers, flies, feces, fields, fluids and foods, gives it the name, though it doesn't quite translate as smoothly into Nepali.

There are several ways to stop the transmission of germs in the environment, in this picture, indicated by the gray bar. Latrine construction (far left) reduces the chances of transmission through water, roads/dust, feet and flies. The middle bar, hand washing, has the greatest impact - washing your hands reduces the chances of ingesting harmful germs. The last barrier, water treatment, is fairly obvious.

This game is basically "memory" or "concentration". There are pairs of each picture from the F-Diagram printed on the cards. The students place the cards face down on the table, taking turns selecting two. Once they find a pair, they keep them. The trick is to remember where each card was, to increase your chances of getting pairs. The student with the highest number of pairs wins.

We then asked the students to come to the front of the class and describe their pairs of cards, explaining how germs spread through that route. This student explains how feces goes into our water sources, contaminates them, and then we drink untreated water. What happens next? Oooohhh, my stomach is paining so much! Now I have to go to hospital!

The kids really love playing cards, and can't help but giggle when they see the steaming pile of fly-covered poo. They get a little shy speaking in front of the class, but with others' support (and if you're lucky, the most outgoing kid will get the poo picture, as above) they really understand the routes of transmission in the environment.

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