Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sing it Massukos!


We moved the TV out of the living room, and its been wonderful. It is now in our room, we still watch it, but later at night, and not so often. Last night, we tuned it to our trusty PBS channel, they do not disappoint. I didn't grow up watching PBS, damn cable channels, it is only now that I see how valuable it is.

Last night on Frontline there was a story about a man named Santos, from Mozambique. Santos, who with his band Massukos, sings songs about sanitation. Santos' motivation comes from the fact that he grew up in Niassa, one of the poorest places on earth, and contracted polio from drinking contaminated water. He has made it his life's goal to educate people about hygiene, and the proper use of latrines. Here is some of what he sings, in his local language of course:

Let’s wash our hands
Let’s wash our hands
For the children to stay healthy
For the uncles to stay healthy
For the mothers to stay healthy
We build latrines.

He is also helping to build these amazing latrines; they are ingenious really. They are ecological latrines that are brick-lined pits which prevent water contamination. When they are done using the latrine, they go get some ash from the fire and pour a few handfuls into the latrine, then cover it. The ash removes the smell from the air (and gets rid of disease carrying flies), and then reminds them to wash their hands.

But theres more! The ash also reacts with the waste and, after 6 months or so, creates a natural fertilizer they can use on their crops. Amazing! I have a new found appreciation for ingenious ideas like this since our trip to Peru. These things make sense. They are sustainable. The people have a safe clean latrine, it helps them to stay healthy, keeps things clean, AND they get fertilizer for their crops! Who knew a toilet could be so flippin' cool.

This story made me want to run to Mozambique. It's beautiful, the people are beautiful. They speak Portuguese, so similar to Spanish. Who knows, maybe we will end up there someday. After you watch this video, you'll understand:

1 comment:

jen said...

take me with you!!!