Soap v. Germs


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Instructional story for kids about the importance of hand washing. Includes vocabulary and comprehension questions. (In English)

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Soap v. Germs

  1. 1. Peace Corps Burkina Faso Friends of African Village Libraries September 2011/Revised July 2013 Krystle Austin, Beguédo: 2009-2011; Ouaga 2011-2012 Sabrina Barker, Dalo: 2009-2011 The Story of Soap vs. Germs Lesson N°1: Story about Handwashing
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  3. 3. 14 1 Malik and Hamidou are good friends. They play together every afternoon, and Hamidou eats at his friend’s house. Be- fore eating, Malik washes his hands with soap and water. Ha- midou watches him, but never washes his hands.
  4. 4. 2 One day, Hamidou does not come to school. Malik is wor- ried, so after school, he goes to his friend’s house. He sees Hamidou’s mother, Mrs. Kaboré. Malik: Good evening, Malik. My son is sick today. I hope he will be better soon and come back to school. Hamidou is lying in the hangar, his two hands over his sto- mach. Malik greets him, but his friend speaks with difficulty. Malik. Thank you, Mrs. Kaboré. Get better soon, Hamidou ! Handwashing Station You can ask your parents, headmaster and librarian to build a hand washing stations in your community. The station will help you re- member the importance of washing your hands wherever you go. The necessary materials are not expensive, and the station is easy to make. Materials needed: a 5 liter water can, a spigot, a knife, some glue Measure 8 centimeters from the bottom of the water can and trace the outside of the spigot. With a knife, cut around the hole that you tra- ced. Put the spigot in the hole and secure with some glue. 13
  5. 5. Follow-Up Activities After reading the story about Hamidou and Malik, you can do the fol- lowing activities at home, at school or at the library in order to better understand the importance of hand washing. You can also share the story with your parents, siblings and friends. Hygiene awareness: Experiment with hot pepper Objectives: Students should be able to:  Understand that most of the bacteria that cause illness are invisible.  Wash hands with soap every time you eat Purpose: To show that invisible bacteria in your body can cause disease, just like chili reacts with the eyes. Materials needed: hot pepper, soap, dish, water Choose a student and ask him to touch the pepper with his hand. Ask if the hot pepper is visible on the hand. Ask the student if he would rub his eyes with his hand. When he refuses, ask why. (NB: If he doesn’t refuse, stop him!) Offer a little water to the student and have him wash his hands (without soap). Again, ask him to rub his eye. If he still re- fuses, ask why. Now provide soap and water to the student and ask him to wash his hands. Now he will touch his hand to his face. Explain that while hot pepper on a hand is not always visible, but it is still dangerous and painful when you rub your eyes without washing your hands. It is the same for bacteria. They are invisible, but they can cause illness if you do not wash your hands. When you eat without washing your hands, your stomach will hurt just like the hot pepper in the eye. So always wash your hands before eating! 12 3 Three days later, Hamidou has not yet come back to school. Malik goes back to his friend’s house. This time, he sees Mr. Kaboré. He greets him and asks about his friend. Mr. Kaboré: Good evening, Malik. Your friend is very sick, and his mother took him to the health clinic. You can go there to see them. Malik leaves the house and goes to the health clinic.
  6. 6. 4 At the clinic, Malik finds Hamidou and his mother. They greet each other. A few minutes later, the nurse comes to see Hamidou. He realizes that the two boys and the mother ha- ve not understood why Hamidou is sick. He attempts to ex- plain. First, the nurse asks if the two boys wash their hands before eating. Malik: Yes, I wash my hands each time I eat. I even use soap. Hamidou: No, I never wash my hands. Nurse: Well, that’s the problem! Difficult Words and Expressions  Health clinic: where sick people are taken care of  Doctor, nurse: someone who takes care of sick people  Ingest: to swallow, to eat  Germs: a small organism that one cannot see that gives us ill- nesses  Lather: each hand washes the other with a little bit of force to spread soap NB: All the above words and expressions are in italics in the text. Comprehension Questions 1. What does Malik do each time before he eats? Does Hamidou do this too? 2. Why does Hamidou not come to school? 3. Does Hamidou get better quickly? Where do he and his mo- ther go? 4. What gives us illnesses like diarrhea? Where do we come in contact with germs? 5. How can we avoid illnesses? 6. How do you wash your hands? 7. The nurse tells Hamidou and Malik to recite the 26 letters of the alphabet while they wash their hands. Recite the 26 letters of the alphabet. 8. When should you wash your hands? 9. L’infirmier dit aux enfants de réciter les 26 lettres de l’alphabet à moment de frotter les mains. Pourquoi ? Réciter les 26 let- tres de l’alphabet. 9
  7. 7. 8 Mrs. Kaboré : Thank you very much. We understand very well now. After today, my child is going to wash his hands with soap before eating. I do not want him to be sick often. We have realized that it is very important to wash your hands. 5 Nurse: You are always in contact with germs. You shake hands with others; you touch things that are not clean; you play in the dirt. Therefore, when you eat without washing your hands, you ingest germs. It is germs that give you ill- nesses like diarrhea.
  8. 8. 6 Malik: So germs make us sick, and everyone is in contact with germs all the time. But everyone is not always sick. Why? Nurse: Good question! Do you know why Malik is not sick, but Hamidou has been sick for a few days? It is because Malik washes his hands with soap and Hamidou does not. It is im- portant to wash your hands with soap, which kills germs. People who wash their hands before they eat do not get sick easily. 7 Nurse: It is important to wash your hands well with soap and water. While you lather the soap, recite the 26 letters of the alphabet in order to leave enough time for the soap to kill all the germs. Finally, pour water over your hands to make sure that you get off all the soap. Now you are ready to eat wi- thout the risk of getting sick. It’s also important to wash your hands each time after you go to the bathroom.