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Pictures from Laos: Needs assessment in the villages
The men in the villages go nearly every day to hunt. Even if they work in their rice fields they take their guns (frequently these are also remainders of the war). The guns are partly to protect them against the wild animals (there are still wild bears and tigers around) but also because they hope to find something to eat on the way. Here one man came back from the hunt with a small wild pig and this big lizard. The lizard was sold and the pig slaughtered for dinner. What a successful day!!
10 Villages (08.06.2010)
Here a map of the 10 villages in which we will work during the coming 3 years. We mapped the roads ourself with a GPS machine. Otherwise there are no maps available with all the villages and for sure not with all the small roads to reach them. In addition we mapped also all health facilities in the area. This shows how far people need to walk in order to recieve treatment when they are sick. And usually there is no transport available.
Priority setting (08.06.2010)
At the end of the second day we are doing the most important exercise: the priority setting. All problems that have been evaluated during the days are written on a white board (with drawings for those who are not able to read). Then every person in the village older than 14 years gets 3 stones which he/she places on the topics on the white board he/she thinks are the most important ones. Afterwards there is an offical counting of all votes. This is really exciting for the people and also for us because this is the basis for all our further activities.
In the moment we are conducting a needs assessment in the 10 villages. We prepared a set of methods or exercises which we do during 2 days with the population of each village. A part of it is with everyone and some exercises are in groups (village leaders, men, women and children). One of these exercises is the mapping of the village into the sand with symbols such as fruits and leaves. This document (PDF file) shows a map that one of our staff created from the original „sandmap“. Explanations for the symbols are on the second page. It is really interesting what we learn by doing this kind of map with the villagers about them and their village.
Teachings for health volunteers (08.06.2010)
One important part of our work in the next 3 years will be the formation of health volunteers. In some villages we started it already: always one volunteer is elected for 10 families and from now on they are responsible for the health of „their“ people. It is not so much about treatment of disease but about prevention of disease through hygiene, nutrition etc.. And then there are one or two other people (called Osobo) who will recieve more training and some essential drugs so that they are able to treat the most frequently seen diseases. At the same time they will be responsible for the volunteers and should continue teaching and supervising them.
Classes in school (08.06.2010)
We are not only teaching the health volunteers, but we are also conducting different activities with the whole popluation and also with the children in school. Here the children are e.g. learning about possible causes of diarrhea. Our classes look quite different from the classes they are used to: interactive, with lots of groupworks and games inbetween. And at the end there are even small prices to win (like soap or pens). After all they should have also some fun in learning these kind of things.
Some problems are so evident that it is not even necessary to ask many questions. Water is one of them for nearly all of the 10 villages. This e.g. is the water source for 2 villages. This water is not only used for watering the gardens but also for washing, cooking and drinking. There is another water source but it is far and the road is so steep that it really needs climbing to reach there. Therefore nearly everyone prefers using this mud hole as water source.
Afternoons visit (08.06.2010)
This cute little fellow here (palm size) visited us recently during the lunch break. In Germany everyone would have cried out and run aways as fast as possible but the reaction of the Lao looks different: the most delicious snacks are coming even by themselves! Yes, spiders are also belonging to the animals that can be eaten! But before you have to remove the teeth so that it can’t bite anymore and then you can play a little bit with it before it is allowed to end up on your plate.
This is also one of the typical pictures in the villages. People are helping each other to find louses and fleas. Up to now I didn’t get anything during my travels. But we will see how long it remains like that...
This is one of the houses were we stayed over night. What you see as floor is bamboo. And this is not just decoration or something lying on the floor but this IS the floor. The bamboo is just hold by some wooden cross beams. This may work out fine for the thin and small Lao people but for me and my weight I don’t have so much confidence in this kind of construction. And some houses are build on bars at around 2 meters height. I wouldn’t like to fall down there...
War scrap (08.06.2010)
At this memorial place we are passing by every time when we are going to the mountains.
It is a remainder of the vietnam war and people say that is was functional just until
some years ago. Exactly here passes the Ho-
A little bit further up the mountain the road is being renovated and during this work all these things were found. A lot of things must be still buried in this area. There is a program taking care of this problem, but still people are frequently injured by old landmines. Nevertheless, the victims are hardly seen somewhere because most of them die in the villages without ever having been at a hospital.
Once again war scrap (08.06.2010)
If the Lao find remainders of the war, they use it for all kind of things. A part of it is sold for reuse of the metal but very often people are using these old bomb cases like here as fence or for growing vegetables or flowers next to their houses.