I got the six kids to lie down in the big tent, they thought that they could probably manage sleeping here, they were already aware that there would not be any electricity where the people who were really living in a make shift tent home in a refugee camp. Then the guide came in and told us that this tent would be the home of a family of twenty people. Now even with the six kids in my group the vision of twenty people sleeping in that one small area was astounding, outside the tent there were shoes made out of tires, toys made out of cans, the kids were able to hold and look at what the refugee’s made, when their attention was caught by the next display.
“Can you lift this 20 liter container?” well my son thought he could, the guide pointed to a landmark in the distance and inform the kids that people would walk that far with the container of water. My son informed her that he could walk to the fence and back carrying the container, and followed through with his statement; a girl in our group tried but did not make the distance. The kids listened to the guide as she explained how much water we use in Adelaide compared to the twenty liters the refugees got in a day. The reality that most people would not be able to wash often hit home, so the guide took us to see the toilets. The kids placed their feet on the indicated markings of the long drop toilet and imagined what it would be like to go to the toilet; she started to talk about the hygiene and the importance of washing your hands, when the kids realized that you don’t have toilet paper, well this raised a few questions and a scream of horror from the girls in our group when they were told that if someone was in hurry and did not remove the cover of the toilet it was not washed, it just stayed there.
At the medical side of the display, one showed us how they tested for malaria, and what other diseases was a danger to people in refugee camps, another showed how medicines were transported to the places that they were needed, and the different type of boxes they used to transport the medicine. We were informed of how many immunizations they gave in a four month period, the number was astounding. We visited the cholera tent and were shown the beds with the hole for diarrhea, the guide went to show us another toilet when another guide lay down on a stretcher pretending to have cholera; let me just say this I would be very surprised if any of my group of kids became doctors or nurses.
All in all it was an interesting experience – my son comment was great and funny – there was a lot of toilet humor, but what can you expect from a group of eleven year olds. Please watch the clip below to find out what I experienced with my group of six kids for a school excursion.
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