7-6 PHAST Day 2, or How We All Eat Poop!

Day two is what I refer to as the “education day” in polite company. Luckily for me, none of the PCVs can be considered polite company anymore so we mostly just call it “how we eat poop.”
After the usual two hour wait and story time, we dive into poop-talk. That is, after all, the reason for doing this workshop. We start with an activity about good and bad hygiene and sanitation. There are three piles, one for good behaviors, one for bad behaviors and one for things that run the middle ground. The small groups sort about twenty pictures into those three piles, then they have to explain why it is a good or bad behavior.
Gud, I Stap lo Midel, Nogud
This activity is a hilarious look at cultural differences around art. A lot of time, things that are supposed to be “good” behaviors get put in the “bad” or “middle” categories because of artistic issues. For instance, the protected water source picture (it shows a pond with a fence around it and is in contrast to a pond with a pig in it) is regularly put in the “bad” category during my workshops. People interpret it as a pig pen and the pig is not inside the fence, therefore it is bad. Similarly, the first draft of the tied up pig picture showed it tied by a rope around its neck to a coconut tree. When Ni-Vans looks at this, they see it as very bad. You don’t tie animals by the throat, they might choke. You tie them by the leg. If you tie the pig under a coconut tree, a coconut might fall on it and kill it and you’ll have to step in pig poop to get your coconuts that will also have pig poop on them. That one required a re-draw. The pig is now tied under a non-coconut tree by its front leg. There are some arguments about the front leg but it is mostly acceptable now.
By the time we get through how pooping outside is bad and touching poop is gross, people are pretty well past the shy stage. There is only so much poop a person can handle without laughing.
That’s my chief.
He sat down in front of the nogud sign…
If the first activity didn’t get them there, the second activity certainly will. I show them a picture of a boy pooping outside and a second picture of a mouth. I tell them to look at the rest of the pictures to tell the story about how the poop goes from the ground to the mouth. I get more “crazy white lady” looks and then we move on. I get a lot of the “crazy white lady” looks during this workshop. The hoped for end result is that there are five ways we eat poop: fingers, flies, food, fields and fluids. (It’s called an f-chart.) Let this be a lesson to all of you with running water to WASH YOUR HANDS! Only you can avoid eating poop!
Once they’ve presented their charts to the larger group and agreed on the routes to eat poop, we try to block those routes. I give them another pile of pictures of “good” hygiene behaviors like handwashing, covering up food and teaching children to use a toilet. They have to block the routes they found and then explain them to the group.
My favorite is lunch time on day two. It falls either between those two activities or right after, which means everyone is discussing eating poop. They all tease each other about handwashing. It is the best peer pressure ever.
The debate is on!
The next activity is what I refer to as the “you don’t have an excuse” activity. They go through each option they used to block the eating of poop and decide how effective it is – not at all, some or very – and how hard it is – not at all, some or very. The idea is that they will see the “easy” and “very effective” options and start thinking about implementing them. At the end of this, we spend a little time discussing why these things aren’t happening and what could change to make them happen, but there is a lot more of that in day three.
Then I start marital discord. The last activity for the day is a short gender analysis. There are pictures depicting different aspects of hygiene and sanitation work and they put them in piles for men’s work, women’s work or work for both. The women get quite up in arms about the whole thing and usually by the end the conclusion is men here are slackers. It is true. They are. So, then we talk about what small changes we can make to the gender assigned roles to make hygiene and sanitation easier and therefore, more likely to happen.

It is kind of hard to end on this activity. People get riled up and I don’t want to end on a negative, but the next day doesn’t really have space for that activity and I don’t want to start the day on that high tension tone. I think the activity is important, I just don’t know where to put it.

All the workshops are inside the nakamal. This is how I set it up to try to focus the attention where I want it.

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