Because of tremendous community support and the work of local volunteers, Peace Corps volunteers, FIMRC Ambassadors and Field Staff, Project Restauración hosted their first community health fair! Below, Field Operations Manager Joe South describes the success of the community health fair that took place on December 7th.
What a success it was! We planned on receiving 500 people, and we received closer to 600! Many children came from villages at least 5km outside of town on foot to be part of the event. The picture above illustrates everyone that made the event possible. We recruited kids from the local high-school that had participated in one of our AIDS presentations and had shown an interest in getting involved. Peace Corps volunteers Ryan and Allison helped tremendously and our local hires Dr. Ricardo and Tania both contributed by manning their own stations and greeting guests. We cannot forget the masterminds behind the whole shebang; Maghan, Hannah (not pictured) and Jamie. I knew having interns would pay off :)
The idea of the fair was to inform kids and adults of simple ways to prevent major illnesses. We had various booths that dealt with themes like proper hand-washing techniques, dental hygiene, the importance of physical activity, sexual health, well balanced meals and the dangers of sugar consumption. Another reason we wanted to do a large scale health fair was to get our name out there. Organizations like World Vision are established and have over a decade working in the area. Peace Corps is another organization that is well known. Believe it or not it is incredibly difficult to brand FIMRC. First of all, its almost impossible for Dominicans to pronounce FIMRC. But its not like we can say Cuerpo de Paz ( Peace Corps) or Vision Mundial (World Vision), no, we have to say Fundacion Internacional de Alivio Medico para la Ninez. Try saying that ten times fast. How did we solve that? We had one booth set up solely for the purpose of having kids try to pronounce FIMRC. If they got it right we gave them a prize. Bottom line. We gotta change our name :)
So, the kids walk in and receive a card that requires six stamps. They have to pass by all six health booths in order to fill up their card and receive their prize bag, which was an assortment of toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand soap, floss, crayons, etc. We had a raffle with items donated from local businesses, and all proceeds went into our local regular programming. People helping people. Here are a few of the featured booths:
Nutrition booth manned by Mary Luz
Wheel of STD's. Spin the wheel and whatever you land on you are infected with. Then you get a talkin to by one of our volunteers. We handed out condoms as well.
A fair would not be a fair without awesome games. So, among many other interactive activities, we contracted a local German carpenter to fabricate these:
Corn-hole baby!!! FIMRC style
It was an amazing activity that the community not only participated in, but helped sponsor! Kids are still talking about it and keep asking when the next one is going to be!