During the November and December school recess, Pueblo a Pueblo is implementing a vacation program at the four schools where we have organic gardens as well as at the school with a Pueblo a Pueblo supported library. We took advantage of these activities to reinforce correct and consistent dental hygiene.
Using a short story developed in Bolivia and adapted by Peace Corps Guatemala, “Mariquita and Margarita,” we engaged the children in a discussion about what leads to unhealthy teeth and what they can do to improve their dental hygiene. Due to the impoverished situation most of the students live in, we also discussed alternatives to toothpaste, including salt and baking soda. After a demonstration of how to brush your teeth, students were all given their own brushes thanks to a generous in-kind donation from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Youth Group from Bellingham, WA. So far we have distributed over 100 toothbrushes to children between the ages of 4 and 14 and hope to make it to 130 by the end of the vacation activities.
After brushing our teeth as a group with baking soda we reviewed why and how many times we should brush our teeth, and when to change our toothbrushes. The kids had differing reactions to the baking soda-some spat it right out and asked for Colgate and others really liked it!
In addition, as we mentioned in our previous report, we have focused our efforts on improving sanitation facilities at La Cumbre School. Construction of washbasins for one block of bathrooms is now complete. The new washbasins have been built at the right height for elementary school aged children, meaning children will no longer have to climb into the pila (large washbasin used for laundry and dishes) to reach the faucet. Soon, we will begin work on the second block of bathrooms to ensure daily access to water and will also repair some of the toilets. Check back soon for more details!