Around this time last year, my fellow PCV, Sabrina, and myself were looking for materials in bookstores in Ouaga for the girls' clubs in our respective villages. We browsed and eventually bought a couple of things, but we were discouraged (1) by how expensive books were for the average PCV who wanted to teach their kids a thing or two about good health practices and (2) by how out-of-reach the reading materials were for the average Burkinabè village child. The images and stories were not relevant to their lives and the language level was such that we figured we would probably end up having to teach French lessons instead of health lessons (and try explaining the literary French tense to a kid who can't conjugate most verbs correctly in the present!). So we did what PCVs do best when we find our resources inadequate - we decided to create our own! And there, in the DIACFA parking lot, was born the idea of a series of children's health books in very, very simple French with drawings and stories the kids would not only learn from, but relate to as well. The kids would be named Awa and Hamidou; they would eat tô for dinner; they would take their afternoon rest on mats outside. Our idea was that PCVs could have these books available to them through the PCBF website, be able to print them off at no cost, take them back to village for girls' clubs, demonstrations, health lessons, etc. to more easily teach their kids about how to better take care of their health.
And I'm proud to say that after much procrastination and anticipation, the first of book in the series is ready for distribution! It's the story of Issaka, a baby who is sick with diarrhea, and how a family friend, Aminata, teaches his mother, Awa, how to better care for him (see the cover page below). As a FAVL volunteer, I thought this would be a great material to have available at our libraries, and luckily, Michael agreed. So we're going to print some copies and send them to the librarians, who can use them in animations. I'm also working on translating them into English so we can send some copies to the Ghana libraries.
Coming soon: the second in the series, a tale that recounts the importance of washing one's hands (which will be great for Global Hand Washing Day on October 15th)!