That’s it. That’s our slogan. It’s true and honest and important. And, it received the attention of school administrators and 1200 Haitian school kids on World Hand Washing Day, October 15.
We five Youthaiti staffers purchased and carried soap, banners, bleach, buckets, and brochures. At each location, we implemented our 30-minute program smoothly and effectively: Hang a banner, erect a hand-washing station, demonstrate with an explanation, and answer questions.
We introduced ourselves to one or two classrooms at a time, starting with the pre-schoolers, working through the administrative staff, and ending with the high-schoolers. With each group, we told the what, why, when and how about hand-washing. In other words, we explained why our health AND LIVES depend on this practice. It was up to each of the students, we told them, to convey this message to their parents and siblings at home.
Those in the States often don’t understand why hand washing needs to be taught. Although we Haitians are extremely fastidious people, keeping our houses neat, our yards raked, and ourselves bathed daily, many of the poorer families don’t have the money for simple necessities like soap. Although every school child pays tuition (even to the public schools), the money goes to other items like books or pens and paper.
Youthaiti is able to address issues such as hand washing and bring its importance back into perspective. We can remind families and schools of its significance to their daily lives.
At the end of each program, we gifted each school with the materials from our demonstration. We sang the hand-washing song that many had learned from a promotional video we’d provided previously.
Men pwop se zanmi le sante (Clean hands are the friend of health),
Men sal se lenmi le sante (Dirty hands are the enemy of health).
We left the students singing while we moved to the next school.