As a team we are eager to get the most out of our time in Nepal. We decided to deliver teaching sessions to the local community to give us greater insight into village life, allow us to develop our presenting skills and hopefully encourage our hosts to make some positive changes in their lives. We were interested to see the primary school in our village and to interact with the village women’s group that meets once a month.
As for our topic, Raleigh’s focus on WASH – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – gave us our starting point. We then wanted to find out how much knowledge there was already in the village on hygiene practices. Over dinner with Normaya Shrestra, the leader of the women’s group, we found out that the adults were already familiar with good hand-washing practice but were interested to learn more about dental hygiene.
With that in mind we ran a hand-washing session for the youngest children at the primary school and developed a lesson on tooth-brushing and its importance for the older children. When we arrived at the primary school the excitement to learn from such an unusual group of teachers was evident. Although they were keen to answer questions on why we need teeth and what foods were bad for teeth, it was clear they were most enthusiastic about the games we had planned. It’s not a certainty that pretending to be germs chased by a toothbrush helped them to understand, but our demonstration of good teeth brushing certainly got the message across – the kids are now practicing up to three times a day.
To reinforce this message, we delivered a lesson to the women’s group on the same topic. After climbing to their meeting place atop of the village (with spectacular views of the Himalayas) we were eager to begin. After our demonstration of what foods stick to your teeth, we discussed how the children’s teeth develop and how teeth and gum problems can begin.
While we were realistic about the difficulties of introducing new habits to an older generation, we hoped that focusing on the importance of good dental hygiene with the children and young people would prove fruitful. We anticipated that giving lessons to both age groups would encourage conversations in the homes of Adhikari Gaun and we were delighted and encouraged to already see some changes in the homes.