This week I have been doing sanitation and water conservation seminars for the communities. We have been meeting in their schoolhouses or community centers. We are doing the seminars in a very participatory manner, asking them lots of questions about their knowledge on the subjects and what kind of solutions they already put in action and their ideas. Then of course I present some educational information, statistics and facts related to the topics of sanitation and water conservation. We also did a demonstration with a mini water system we made out of water bottles, valves and plastic tubing. With this we were able to use volunteers from the audience to help us put water through the mini water system. This demonstration showed how when someone doesn't turn off their tap or leaves their water running unnecessarily, not only does it waste water but it also inhibits other community members from getting the water that they need. The people at the seminars were really responsive and thankful and especially liked the demo. I think next time I will try to incorporate even more visual and hands on things like that since they seemed to relate to that the most.
I was pretty nervous about doing these seminars in Spanish. But I have Carlos, a fluent Spanish speaker as my co facilitator, so they have been going fine. I feel that I can get my point across. The occasional problem I run into is not being able to understand what the Hondurans are saying sometimes. They speak so fast and without clear pronunciation, plus the accent is much different than the Mexican one I'm used to. For example they often don't pronounce there s's.
Although I did feel good about the seminars I couldn't help but feel like a bit of a hypocrite lecturing about water conservation here when I know that I use a lot more water at home in Minnesota on a day to day basis than they do here in Honduras. But I think regardless that it's an important discussion to have and good to get going anywhere in the world. Education about water issues is always a positive thing in my opinion. For example I told them about the fact that only 1 percent of the world's water is fresh and accessible to us (there is another 1% or so locked up in glaciers). People often don't realize how precious and scare our water is. Putting it in perspective can make people want to conserve more thinking about the future. I know that the more I study water issues the more aware I become of this as well. Many places that I travel to are dealing with water scarcity issues, which always makes me that much more grateful when I get home and there is plenty of water (at least for now).