Opare began to tell me that he was worried about his younger brother
who was sick. 'He is not the only one either', he added. 'Some of
my other friends are sick too. The nurse at the clinic said it was
from drinking bad water. She said that the people in the village did
not bother to use latrines, and this made our water bad. And if they
continue to do this, there will be others who will get sick. So 1
am worried, because 1 don't know what to do'.
'Opare, my friend,' I replied, 'you are telling me about the same
problem that 1 had in my village just last year. Let me tell you what
we did. I think you will find it very interesting.'
'The public health nurse had visited my village and explained to
us why we needed to build latrines.'
'She said that our body wastes contained germs. When these germs
get into out water, and we drink the water, then the germs make us
sick. The only way to prevent this is to build proper latrines, far
from our source of drinking water.'
'But no one in our village was interested, neither my friends nor
my family, l was really discouraged.'
'I told this story to the other boys in my Troop, as well as to
Mr Amissah, our Scout Leader. They were very interested. Mr. Amissah
then said that he had been reading a booklet on community development
projects which Scouts in other countries were beginning to use. He
told us that there were many activities that Scouts could do to improve
their villages and towns. And building latrines was certainly one
of them. We wanted to go and build a latrine straight away, as we
thought we would be doing something important.'
'It was then that Mr. Amissah told us of the difference between
our doing things to help people like building latrines for them -
and helping them to understand why they should build their own latrines
- which is much more important. He said that this was community development.
It sounded interesting, so we asked him to tell us more about it.
'The first thing we had to do was to learn as much as we could about
how the body wastes infected water, and how this caused us all to
'We visited our community clinic several times. The nurse there
told us about all these things. We also learned that properly constructed
latrines could make a big difference. But none of us knew what a latrine
was made of or how to build one.'
'So we went with Mr. Amissah to the Rural Development Centre where
we learned from the government technician what latrines were and how
easy they were to make. And we were happy to learn that the technician
would help us. But Mr. Amissah again reminded all of us that community
development meant much more than just building latrines. '
'We had to encourage our people in our village to learn what we
had learned. Mr. Amissah told us that if people did not understand
and believe in the purpose of the latrine, then they would probably
not use it. We had to have discussions with our parents, our relatives,
our friends and especially with the community leaders. That was very