The things we take for granted! Turning on the tap and watching clean water flow out…drinking it, showering in it, cleaning our clothes in it! Flushing the toilet. While there is no water or sewer infrastructure in the villages of remote Kenya, it is still possible for people to stay healthy with basic water and sanitation – they just need to understand it and have practical solutions available.
Positive Aid has been implementing ‘Healthy Literacy’ since 2012, which has focused on teaching people the essentials – starting with life-saving basics like what germs are. Florence Meso, a long-term community health worker in our project, leads these activities in Uranga. She is a bright, quietly spoken mother of four, who gets about on her bicycle, cycling to small market centres with a hand-made wooden box strapped on her pack-rack. Inside it is a microscope, which she connects to a portable solar panel under the hot Kenyan sun.
Small groups of women, men and children crowd up to hear her speak, their eyes widening as they watch live ants, bacteria and white blood cells move about under the microscope. They see into a new world, and absorb Florence’s lessons in their own mother-tongue language. The knowledge they are given becomes engrained, and by the end of the session they are ready to try out their own practical solutions to protect their families’ health. Returning home, they begin to boil their river water before drinking it,they dig deep pit latrines, and construct ingenious hand-washing stations with free, recycled materials. And they share their new insight and power with their neighbours so the whole community moves forward!
Florence proudly tells us that “now people are alive and they are able to do their own things. This is one of the truly good things that are a result of our project. I’m happy to have been trained as a community health worker because it has meant that I have helped my community.”