The Grow team’s second weekend spent in Butare gave the girls and I a chance to rest and continue our work with RVCP. Friday was spent catching up on sleep after our journey to Kibuye and Gisenyi, grocery shopping at the local market, doing laundry and organizing for RVCP’s general body meeting. As the second session for the maternal health care education program approached, the Grow team and RVCP collaborated and came up with ideas about how to improve the sessions for the future. We decided that holding the sessions inside the health clinic, as opposed to the outdoor waiting room, would eliminate distractions and also provide a more intimate teaching environment for the women. Brainstorming about how to make the health sessions as effective as possible for the women in the village is of utmost importance to us, and without the help of RVCP, the language barrier would make this goal nearly impossible. I enjoy the general body meetings with RVCP more than I expected, as it provides the team an opportunity to hear everyone’s opinions, critiques, and suggestions at once, as well as better align our goals with RVCP.
As the weekend continued, the girls and I gained a better understanding of how to create important surveys and evaluations that will help us determine whether or not the sessions are positively affecting the health of the women in the village. On Saturday afternoon, Pacifique (RVCP member) took us to the village we had visited two weeks before where the Water and Sanitation Project is based. We were excited to visit the adorable children again, who greeted us with ear to ear smiles and several “goooood morninggggs!” Pacifique brought us to the homes of two women in the village who have had latrines installed in their back yards. We asked them a series of questions concerning their health, hygiene and water habits, and completed a preliminary survey that evaluates the effectiveness of the toilets for the women and the health of their families. One woman had given birth only three days before, and though she was probably sleep deprived, she welcomed us into her home and was so kind and engaging. The survey gave us plenty of ideas for the evaluation we want to create for the mothers in the Rukira village, and we were glad to be able to see how the survey is conducted.
The weekend ended on the most exciting note! The second health session was held at the clinic, and once again, attendance surpassed our expectations. 64 women and one husband attended, and they were all eager to listen. RVCP members Vincent, Emmanuel, and Dominique taught this session, which focused on nutrition and hygiene. Though it rained for a good portion of the session, and it was sometimes hard to hear, the women listened and participated with enthusiasm! After the session, we all attended RVCP member, Alphonse’s birthday at a local hotel. We met new friends and danced all night! It was one of my favorite nights so far, and I’m super excited to celebrate more birthdays in Rwanda! We accomplished a lot of work this weekend, but we were also able to relax, explore Butare, and celebrate!
More updates coming soon!