In Oxfam’s Haiti photo collection from the last six months – in among pictures of tent camps, water trucks, and survivors picking up the pieces of their lives – there are some scenes that look like fun: children building toys and painting pictures, grownups hamming it up on a makeshift stage, and rows of brightly colored kites.
This is the playful work of Oxfam’s public health promoters, whose job it is to help people adapt to the hygiene needs of the crowded camps, where the threat of disease epidemics is ever-present. So the child-crafted paintings, the kites that leap and dive above the rubble of the camps, and the actors entertaining their young audiences all carry messages about staying clean to stay healthy. So far, Oxfam’s health-education messages have reached more than 200,000 people, and in post-earthquake Haiti – so far – there have been no serious outbreaks of disease. So, long live the kites. Or in Haitian Kreyol: Viv – yo cerf volants!
Check out more photos of public health workers in action: