Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
When we moved to Senegal back in 2003, one of the first things we were tasked with doing were so-called ‘Band-Aid & Boo-Boo Clinics’. Basically this meant taking a basic First-Aid kit, walking around until you came across a few talibé boys or kiddos in the village and then getting to know them as you cleaned and bandages up their scrapes and boo-boos.
This activity seemed pretty basic, but it had so many benefits. Clean wounds heal better and the risk of infection is reduced. For talibés who are often neglected (at best), the reassuring, nurturing care of an adult may go a long way in helping them feel loved and secure. It’s a great language exercise as you greet them, ask their name, where they are from, what they like to do for fun… just chatting and getting to know the boys. It can build friendships with little ones right in your neighborhood in Dakar, and with time we have found that they learn to trust you and bring you their friends who are injured or sick.