Snake charmers, thieves, beggars, and nomads. And carnivals

Hello everyone! Today was a very interesting day at the Comprehensive Rural Health Project campus. After breakfast, we had originally planned on going into the local town for their cattle market, where other nearby towns gather to sell their cattle. However, there were some Hindu/Muslim disputes going on, and the town was closed. It was safer for us to stay on the CRHP campus. Instead, we were given a quick informational session on how the preschool works, and what they do everyday. The preschool consists of about 50 children aged 3-7 years old. The school is run by a woman named Minha, who actually used to be the lab technician at the hospital. It turns out she has a knack for running a successful preschool program. Fortunately, she has two assistants who help her out. The children are from nearby slums, and usually come from families of snake charmers, thieves, beggars, and nomads. Without the CRHP preschool, these kids would not adequately prepared for the compulsory public schools. Instead, children graduating from this preschool actually fare better than children from the wealthier areas entering the 1st grade.  The program is relatable to the United State’s Head Start program. They are also taught proper behaviors, such as sharing and manners, as well as learning songs and how to interact with other children their age in a school setting.

The children in the preschool seemed as though they were very happy and normal children. Even though they came from very impoverished areas, were wearing clothes that were falling apart, and seemingly had nothing, they were laughing and running around and playing like typical children. That is one of the most beautiful things about children—they can be happy and carefree in a way that adults can’t, even if they have nothing.

One thing that the CRHP does to improve the health of the children is to teach them basic sanitation and hygiene.  When the kids first enter school, they teach them skills, such as brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and nutrition.  Pretty soon after they have these basic skills down, the kids will teach their parents. After the kids have been at the preschool awhile and learn the routine, they can get prepared at home with the help of the family, thus putting less pressure on the preschool everyday.

Later in the afternoon, the CRHP campus had a carnival for the health workers and their families who live on the site. They had games, food and drinks (they even had COLD sodas!), and the women who worked for the Helping Hands initiatives sold some of their products. I ended up buying a lot of new, interesting things to decorate my new apartment with. All in all, today was a very fascinating day full of new experiences.

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