Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Global Handwashing Day!

Friday, October 15 is Global Handwashing Day.  This campaign is geared toward motivating people around the world to wash their hands using not only water, but soap as well.  One of the many things that Peace Corps Volunteers do during their 27 months of service is give "charlas" or chats on a wide variety of topics.  There really aren't any forbidden topics for charlas, though some partnering agencies may have you edit content to be age or culturally appropriate.  We took advantage of this global event and prepared a handwashing charla to give to our beloved preschool and kindergarten students today.

If any of you can remember your preschool or kindergarten days, the first thing that probably comes to mind is nap time.  In order for anything to sink in, it has to be fun.  That being said, you may be wondering how on earth you make something like handwashing fun (without making a mess).  We began our charla with a couple of short videos, because who doesn't love a good cartoon with soap, hands, and water?  We talked about what kids need in order to wash their hands, when they should wash their hands, why they should wash their hands, and how they should wash their hands. 

After the videos, things started getting pretty boring - you can only rub your hands together so many times before you start thinking that you're going crazy.  So, we decided to play a game of tag with the kids.  This wasn't your everyday game of tag though.  This was "Soap and Water Tag."  We played the roles of soap and water and worked together to clear a hand (the floor) of germs and bacteria (the students) living on it.  We essentially formed a "soap bubble" around groups of kids and shuttled them to the space that was designated as a clean hand.  After several minutes of running and screaming, we successfully cleaned the hand of all of its germs.

Having learned why, when, and how to wash their hands and acting out the process, it was time to get dirty so that we could practice washing hands.  The getting dirty party was fun.  Each child was able to put their handprint on a poster for their classroom that has the things needed to wash your hands, when to wash your hands, and how to wash your hands.  We talked about these posters and every student agreed that it was a "contract" stating that they would use soap and water and wash their hands after using the restroom, after playing with their pets or other animals, and before eating.  We kept things somewhat tidy by painting their hands for them before they made their mark (this is also a good paint saving technique!)  The end result was quite beautiful, and both the preschool and kindergarten classrooms now have lovely posters to remind them of how to wash their hands.

All of the kids loved this activity and had a great time pointing out their handprints to us after returning from washing their hands.  We really enjoyed the day and are glad that we have teachers in our school who are more than happy to take us up on our offers to do crazy educational activities.   

For more fun photos click here.
This is one of the videos that we showed the kids - enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Goal 2

As you may or may not know the mission of Peace Corps contains 3 simple goals:

1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women. (Tarah and I are trying our best!)
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. (Here’s where you can help)
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. ( &

We need your help with goal two. As you can imagine, it is nearly impossible to explain the vastness and grandness of a country as large and diverse as the United States, especially to children in a country approximately the size of West Virginia (the 41st largest state in the union) that has less than half the population of the Chicago metro area.

It would be great if you could send postcards and/or photos from your part of the country (or places you have visited). You can also send interesting facts about your city, state, the climate, the topography, your family, yourself or anything else you think is interesting about the USA. Some things that the kids would love to know about are animals, jobs, languages you speak, schools, typical/favorite foods, music, hobbies, family life, weather…

Postcards, letters, cards, pictures and packages can be sent to:

Chris & Tarah Hall
Apartado Postal 04-3069
4101 Puerto Viejo, Sarapiquí
Heredia, Costa Rica
Centro America

Also, please pass this message on to anyone else you think would like to participate.

As always you can read about our adventures at

Thank you for your support,

Chris and Tarah Hall
Peace Corps - Costa Rica 2010-2012
Children, Youth and Families – Niños, Jóvenes y Familias