This time last year, a Nourish chapter at Pitt was little more than the dream of a few students. Now, in one week, we will be in Peru for our very first chapter project. We could not be more excited! After a year of fundraising and planning, it is hard to believe we are finally able to translate our preparation to action.
For the project, our chapter and the Nourish chapter at Juniata college will be teaming up with MOCHE Inc. to build latrines and promote sanitation in the Moche Valley of Peru. I want to go into some detail of what this means because some of you reading this might roll your eyes at the euphemistic language. That’s what my mom did. When I first told her about my trip, she raised an eyebrow. “Latrines? Rachel, you want to spend your summer building toilets?!?” This initial reaction turned out to be the norm for me explaining my summer plans to people. Unfortunately, it makes sense—no one wants to talk about poop. However, what we’ve learned in preparing for this trip is that potty talk isn’t pretty, but it’s necessary. Not only do 1.1 billion people globally not have access to improved water supply sources, but also 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of sanitation facility. Because of this, 2 million people die every year due to diarrheal diseases. Lack of sanitation is one of the biggest problems facing developing nations, including Peru. The more we’ve learned about the seriousness of the issue, the more we’ve been able to understand what kind of impact we could potentially make. So yes mom, we are building toilets! But that doesn’t mean our work will go to waste…no pun intended
As part of our preparation, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about what we hope to accomplish—in Nourish-speak, our outputs and outcomes.
Our outputs (tangible goals) are to:
- build at least 4 latrines
- facilitate at least 1 successful health fair
- distribute health (first aid) kits to the community
- distribute at least 100 packets of information to the community
Our outcomes (intangible goals) are to:
- create better waste management in the community
- increase knowledge about better sanitation practices
- increase knowledge of first aid in the community
- increase knowledge and access to available sanitation resources
We hope we will be able to achieve these goals and more as we begin this learning experience.
There is not too much more to say before we go, but really, we can’t wait! Our project leaders Emma, Ally, and Sam will be leaving in a couple days to prepare before the entire group goes down so look out for updates from them sometime soon!
P.S. if anyone is interested in learning a little more about the issue of sanitation, be sure to check out World Toilet Day’s page http://worldtoiletday.org/learn_detail.php?id=3 or watch this great TED talk from Rose George http://www.ted.com/talks/rose_george_let_s_talk_crap_seriously.html!