Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Importance of Cement Floors

During both of our campo immersions, one of our service projects has been to build cement floors for families that do not have them.  In some cases this meant just one room of the house that was lacking, and in others it was the entire home.

Cement floors are extremely beneficial for hygiene and health.  According to a study done at UC Berkeley, "Dirt floors are a major threat to the health (of inhabiants) by providing a breeding ground for parasites. In neighborhoods without sanitation, fecal matter can enter the house easily and, on a dirt floor, become difficult to spot and remove. This contributes to the heavy burden of parasitic infections in children, resulting in diarrhea, malnutrition and anemia" (http://cega.berkeley.edu/materials/E2A_Cement-Floors-Brief.pdf).  Paul Farmer's organization Partners in Health also points out that without adequate housing material, rainwater often enters homes during the rainy season, turning dirt floors to mud (http://www.pih.org/pages/food-water-and-housing/).  In addition to these health concerns, many people feel that cement floors give the owner a sense of pride and ownership of their home, thus increasing their happiness and productivity.

But laying cement floors is difficult and expensive.  We learned first hand the time, energy, sweat and sometimes even tears that goes into this difficult labor.  We feel so lucky to have been able to provide so many families with such a simple, but important thing as a floor.  Please watch the video below to see how we were able to provide a cement home for one young man and his father in Ceboruco.


video

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