The children at the preschool in Nakamtenga, Burkina Faso, know where to put their garbage. They have all been training throughout their years at the school. We recycle buckets, which, in Sweden where used when selling cut flowers. One plastic bucket is used for that which is combustible. Our caretaker Adama takes care of what should be burned. He burns the waste at night when it has stopped blowing. One plastic bucket is used for compost. The school garden has a compost pit. The children take turns to go and empty the bucket with peel, after “fruit hour” when the children get fruit every day. The third bucket is used for glass and metal, which Adama takes care of. He sells scrap metal to those who make pots. The glass is the most difficult to handle. We use the caps from beer and soda bottles for math practice and games.
Ask a 4-year-old in Nakamtenga why we should not throw plastic bags in the wild. The children will then tell us that donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats chew on them and swallow them. Glass, metal and old ragged clothes could also end up in animals’ stomachs and make animals sick and even kill them. Even in the homes the parents get asked by their children to use the trash can or compost bin instead of throwing everything on the ground!
During all those years the children at the preschool have been picking garbage. Even outside the schoolyard. Sometimes adults have asked us what we are doing when the children go in a long line searching and removing what comes in their way, that should not be in the nature. Teachers have patiently encouraged and trained the children to continue to keep nature cleen on the way to school. The area closest to the school is always clean. It becomes a pleasant habit to keep clean and make sure their school and surroundings are clean.
Our first pre-school children are now teenagers. Some are in Nakamtengas youth group. Most of the youth in the youth group have not been able to attend preschools and schools, but they all gather regularly for various activities. They play soccer, they have plans for the village’s future, planting trees and picking trash and doing the whole Nakamtenga
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