The week we've been working towards for months is finally here! This Saturday we were able to begin the most ambitious part of our project: passing out 2,000 reusable bags and installing 36 concrete dustbins in Meghauli. The scouts finished up with exams a couple days before handing out the bags on Saturday, giving us just enough time to work with them and help them prepare. We split the scouts into three teams: public relations, health and environment. The three groups are preparing speeches that they will give to the community next weekend. Through these speeches the scouts will be able to pass on the information they have been learning, as well as educate the community as to the importance of environmental awareness and a healthy lifestyle.
The environment group put together a short speech about why the reusable bags are useful for preserving the environment, and the importance of using the new dustbins instead of littering. The health group went into detail about how to promote better health in Meghauli. Public relations discussed the other work we did this year in the summer school regarding building three character traits in order to be successful in creating their vision for Meghauli: compassion, leadership, and teamwork.
This Saturday as the scouts went door to door handing out bags they recited the speech that they wrote to each household to encourage them to use the bags and to be environmentally aware. By the end of the morning the scouts had given out 600 bags total to over 300 households! To reward the scouts for a job well done, we brought them all samosas and watched a movie together (Frozen) at the kindergarten. After the success of this Saturday the GPE team is working with 49 French volunteers to hand out the bags to remote areas of Meghauli, and even a Tharu village we have never been able to reach.
The scouts making us proud during the bag handout isn't the only exciting thing that happened this week. During our middle of the day break the team got to go to the river to give Anjali (the same elephant that has taken us on our jungle tours) a bath! We all had a blast getting to climb on top of Anjali and jump off, rubbing her down, and feeding her cucumbers. Totally worth the 5 dollars!