Monday, 29 March 2010

Beautiful babies and clean villages

This Saturday Hope for the Village Child held their annual clean village and beautiful baby contest. It was an amazing sight, each of the communities HVC works with was represented, with mothers, children and fathers all there to support their entrants.

Whilst the judging was going on each community performed a song or dance. One village surpassed them all, a group from Pantaki performed a traditional Bagi dance, so good that the audience threw money at them.

The idea behind the beautiful baby competition is to encourage mothers to have their children immunised as soon as possible. HVC provide vaccinations to communities through the roving clinic which visits villages monthly, and monitors the health of mothers and children. Here's one of the winning babies, looking a bit hot in his fluffy outfit, and of course very beautiful.

The cleanest village competition is a way to promote the importance of hygiene and sanitation to communities. The judging happens throughout the year, and communities are not informed when their village will be judged. Some families have built their own latrines since the competition began two years ago. This year the winning village was Kaso Mission, who received a giant cheque for 20,000 Naira (about £100) to spend on their community.

Everyone had dressed up for the special occasion in brightly coloured outfits with incredible prints and designs, and I felt I had to compete... so I had my first Nigerian style outfit made. This is me with Elizabeth, one of the HVC nurses.

It drew many comments from all sides, particularly when I went to the market later that day, and even more funny looks when people saw the oyibo on a motorcycle with a helmet and a Nigerian outfit - will try and get a photo of that next time.

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