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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

kids disaster prevention in joya grande

 We budgeted this project at about $5,000. We have executed it with $400. How? Recycled and donated EVERYTHING. 6 volunteers who develop the methodology, pay their own bus fare, and use their own phone minutes to figure out logisitics. And of course, we take turns buying snacks for the kids...donating sugar from our house. AND bringing water from our filters...because there is hardly ever water in Joya Grande, El Borborllon this type of year.
So with a lot of love and creativity, we are doing the project on $400 dollars.
 Above is Rodrigo learning some basic first aid- how to clean and wrap a wound or a burn. We used markers to let kids "mark" different kinds of cuts, burns, scrapes, and broken bones.  To the right, Jonathan is explaining our model of "landslide and flood" explaining to the kids how and why joya grande has flooding problems, using cutout bottles to demonstrate the overflowing river. We explained that deforestation is a major cause, and Don Pablo who lives by the lake is at risk just like Connie who lives but the mountain. However, ever time Jonathan poured water into our model to demonstrate lanslides, Connie
 covered her ears and crouched down low. Connie, here on the left, 8 years old in a yellow dress and a big orange scrunchie, has torn black mary janes whose buckles never seen to stay shut. It broke my heart to see Connie squeeze her eyes tight, because the memory of a landslide has terrible images and sounds for her. Connie lives in the Borborllon, the most forgotton corner of the forgotton community of Joya Grande. She lives between the mountain and the river, so she cannot escape to any shelter once it really pours. She is in danger of landslies and flooding, and would have no evacuation route.
 Connie is one of the smartest girls in the glass. She follows directions, plays hard, LOVES icebreakers, and is extremeley affectionate. But she lives in a very dangerous place. and she doesnt like it when it rains. When we asked connie to draw landslides and flood (picture left) she only used the color black. For Connie, the rain is black. Landslides are black. mud is black. water is black. When I asked her what all the black meant, she told me that this is what floods are like. Of course. For an 8 year old, when the landslides happened in as 12am. and everything was black as night. black.
 I got to build the natural water filter with her. Together we learned about water purification techniques. How many drops of bleach per liter? 2 DROPS! They all shout. How many hours do we put water in the sun 6 HOURS! They all shout. And we built a filter- cotton, carbon, sand and gravel. and the children were amazed as the dirty water the poured in came out drip by drop crystal clear! We also taught mobilization for injured people. and of course Connie LOVED to be carried around with the other kids making ambulance noises.
 Below is connie and evelin, walking back home after a workshop. This time, in a green dress. same orange scrunchie. Skipping over the stick and stones and stumbs strewn over the passageway from the most recent disaster. But in this moment, Connie doesn't feel "at-risk"- the tree stumps are a challenge to jump over, not a threat that could kill someone as soon as the river rises. Connie lives at-risk, there is no way around in. But she is also just another 8-year old girl, skipping around in her summer dress. And i am trying not to analyze too hard why she paints the rain black. and why she covers her ears and closes her eyes. and i am trying to just skip with her, enjoying this moment of glee in Joya Grande. I hope we can raise enough money to repeat this project in other zones of Joya Grande. There are about 300 more connies to train in first aid! and water purification! and skip over sticks and stones and enjoy being youth with!

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