Sunday, November 13, 2016

Diabetes March

The nurses from our village health center visited the school last week. They wanted us to do a parade through the village on Friday morning as part of a diabetes awareness initiative. Dominica is known for having an inordinate amount of people who live beyond age 100, but the island also has a growing problem with diabetes. So on Thursday afternoon, we worked on creating signs to carry as part of our street march.

I helped make many of these signs (I started running out of alliterative slogans after “Defeat Diabetes,” “Deter Diabetes,” “Defend Against Diabetes,” “Don't Die From Diabetes,” etc.) while demonstrating different font styles (they seemed to really like my overlapping big block letters that look as if they were mashed together). It was a fun art experience during school hours for children who, unlike American students, don't get much art time (or have a lot of art resources with which to create art). Below is one of the signs I hurriedly created that afternoon before we all went home at the end of the day.

On Friday morning, all the staff wore their green shirts I brought back from Morgantown, while the students wore their green shirts I got at the Shirt Factory in Parkersburg. Our bright green apparel matches the bright green shirts that comprise our school's uniform which are worn on most days. Below is a picture taken by one of our staff members using her “selfie stick”—complete with a “photo bomb” by one of our students.
The next photo shows the start of our march, as the students left their classrooms in single file, with the Atlantic Ocean visible beyond the road.
I ran ahead to get a photo from the bridge as they marched adjacent to the playing field.
We gathered at the bus stop for an informative talk with the nurses about the symptoms and causes of diabetes. In the background, the Atlantic is visible through the palm trees.
Then we proceeded to march up through the village. These pictures will give you a sense of our little village.
We turned around just before the hill steepens leading to the upper part of the village, known as Green City. Here the nurse gets them organized again before we head back down through the main part of the village.
In the background of the picture below, you can see some of the houses up in Green City. All the while, the nurse was leading the children in various diabetes related chants and cheers.
Here the students come down past the heart of our downtown. The local branch of the credit union is the blue and gold building surrounded by fencing—it is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We then stopped again at the bus stop for some refreshments. Here is another selfie stick photo (taken further up the road) showing me with two of the teachers.
Then we headed back to school. This photo shows the students making the turn into our school driveway. It had been a fun (and educational) morning!
Finally, I thought it was interesting that some of the rulers our school possesses were donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation (there are plenty of wild turkeys in my home state of West Virginia). These wooden rulers are leftovers from their JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge Ethics and Sportsmanship) Day events. Not only do we use them for measurements and straight line drawing, they also were perfect for taping signs onto for our march. Thank you, NWTF!

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