Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Art

This blog post is for you Vern Bergling.

Summers are usually slow, maybe it’s because it’s hot, students are out of school or people are thinking about the vacations they took or are about to take. There is no difference in Guyana, even a remote part of Guyana, like Region 1.  In fact, I think summers are even slower here. This requires us Peace Corps volunteers to find ways to keep us occupied (because vacations are a thing of the past and future, certainly not anything we can afford at the moment). So instead we find projects that are short, meaningful and fun.

We had created murals at the Regional Hospital (Sesame Street) to make it more child-friendly, and as more community health workers (CHWs) came to the hospital to pick up their vaccinations or supplies the more they desired murals of their own on their health post walls. So Emily, a volunteer in White Water, decided she would give her health post a bit of a facelift with some child-friendly health murals. So we did some research and chose messages that were salient in her community. What are the things patients complain about the most? What are the messages we try and impart the most? So we came up with four murals: Washing your hands, which can prevent gastrointestinal infections; Eating healthy food that includes plenty fruits and greens (these are the words we use when speaking to patients in our broken Creolese) to prevent pressure (hypertension) and sugar (diabetes),  as well as child malnutrition; Purifying water before drinking, again to prevent GI and other infections, especially skin infections if they use dirty creek water; and lastly a Human Body mural to be able to point out where certain bones, muscles, organs are when trying to explain a condition or sickness.

It only took two days to draw and paint these murals, but it was a great escape of the day to day boredom that Peace Corps volunteers often deal with. Not only did it keep us occupied, but the clinic looks great and  Emily’s CHW was thrilled to have a brighter and educational space. We even caught patients already peeking into the post to read the murals. Just goes to show, that ART is truly a language that all people speak.



 Till next time.

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