Health threat at schoolAlthough students of the Diamond Secondary School — in Second Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme, EBD — are reportedly being sold contaminated food, the Education Ministry, in a statement to this publication, disclosed that nothing can be done to address the issue until an official complaint has been received by the School’s Board of Governors.The Ministry disseminated this statement one day after the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) of the school complained bitterly of the issues affecting the children there.While the Ministry acknowledged that it had indeed received a letter from the PTA in regard to the matter, it said, “A letter was prepared by the School Board Coordinator of the Ministry of Education advising the PTA of the school to shareThe Diamond Secondary Schoolthe concerns with the School’s Board of Governors.”According to the Ministry, the letter detailing the issues was also directed to the School’s Board of Governors, which to date has not responded. The Ministry is adamant that the issue cannot be addressed until an official complaint has been filed by the School’s Board of Governors.The disgruntled members of the PTA recently penned a letter to this publication expressing grave concern about the present health threats existing at the institution.The PTA is threatening to take legal action — and even protest action — as the body believes the students are being exposed to harm, and even diseases, as food which is being sold to the children is allegedly contaminated.They are also complaining about parapets which have been destroyed – a situation which bothers parents who wish to park their vehicles as they await their children; and the non-highlighting of speed bumps in the streets, which results in great inconvenience to both drivers and pedestrians.They claim that several letters have been sent to the Education, Communities, Public Infrastructure and Public Health ministries, but their complaints have always been ignored.The PTA threatened: “If no action is taken by your Government, we shall initiate protest action, starting at the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) office, and we shall be meeting shortly with our attorney…to explore legal remedies.”According to the PTA members, relevant letters were sent to the various ministries before the beginning of the new school term in September. In one of the letters, addressed to Education Minister Nicolette Henry and seen by Guyana Times, the PTA complained of the food vendors who sell outside the school’s compound.The body stressed: “Since 2011, at PTA meetings, we have repeatedly raised the issue of the school’s administration allowing vendors to sell food items over the front drain of our school to children.”It was explained that parents are especially concerned as there is a septic tank which drains sewage directly into that very drain which is in front of the school.The PTA members are now calling on UNICEF and PAHO representatives to visit the school to get a first-hand look at the issues affecting the students.They are even calling for the Head Mistress (HM) and teachers to be investigated, as they accused the head teacher of accepting money from the vendors to sell outside the school’s premises.
We all know that wonderful feeling when we arrive at our destination and find the nearest bathroom. Many times, we throw our heads back and give a sigh of relief. Imagine, then, only being able to go to the bathroom once a week, or even less frequently. This is the life of a sloth. Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.As many of you know, sloths are solitary creatures and prefer to stay high in the forest canopy, undetected. They accomplish this by having amazing ways to camouflage themselves and with certain adaptations that help them take this inconspicuous lifestyle to the extreme. One major adaptation is having a large multi-chambered stomach. This makes up a large portion of their body, and when full, can account for up to two-thirds of a sloth’s weight. The stomach is full of many types of bacteria which break down the leaves and other foods eaten by the sloth. Digestion of the fibrous food sloths consume is very slow, allowing these animals to remain high in the trees for long periods of time, without expending a lot of energy.When their stomach is full, sloths slowly descend down the trees by hugging the trunk, performing a sort of bouncy dance that I can only describe as twerking or belly dancing. After this, they look skyward and slowly close their eyes, which indicates that they have started urinating. This can last several minutes and produces up to two liters of urine. This is why sloths don’t drink water, but derive the liquid in their diet from the food they eat. Via Toucan Rescue Ranch.Once they are finished urinating, they open their eyes and start the process of defecating. They defecate pellets that look somewhat like coffee beans in a clump. This stage of their elimination is critical to the life cycle of the many insects which live in the algae-rich sloth fur. As the sloth leaves fecal matter at the base of the tree, the bugs living in its fur lay their eggs in the pile of fresh dung, leaving their larvae to develop in the nutrient-rich environment. The adult insects that emerge crawl or fly back up to the sloth to live and mate, completing their life cycle.There are many schools of thought as to whether this relationship between sloth, bugs and algae benefits the sloth, but it definitely benefits many types of other organisms. Once the sloths finish eliminating, they climb back up into the tree canopy to remain there another week or two, eating and sleeping, until they repeat the process. Via Toucan Rescue RanchWhile adult sloths only go to the bathroom once every week or two, the orphaned baby sloths in our care must be taken out on a daily basis to try to get them to eliminate. We first take them outside to the grass and either place them with a stuffed animal, with another sloth buddy, or stand them up, mimicking a tree trunk. One usually successful way to convince them to potty is to have a paper towel soaked with sloth pee that we place in front of their nose. They have a very fine sense of smell and usually respond to the odor, by active sniffing. We hold our breath, hoping this will stimulate their little bodies to follow suit.We watch for the little nose twitch, and if they start bouncing or wiggling their bottoms, we can figure that our efforts will be met with some success. Once their eyes shut tightly, we know we’re home free! At this point, we hope we’re in a comfortable position, as they can take several minutes to relieve themselves! The baby will eventually open its eyes once it starts defecating and will, many times, start crawling away, leaving a trail of poo pellets in its wake. Once a baby has defecated, we always weigh them to keep accurate records.Fortunately, once the babies are a bit older, we can place them on a wooden climbing structure, where they will complete the tasks on their own. As they grow older, their instincts kick in, and our assistance is unnecessary — which is living proof that we have done our job!It’s amazing how many strategies the various Sloth Team members come up with to get our little challenging babies to potty, inspiring awe and determination amongst the rest of us. “Potty” cool … don’t you think?— Denise Gillen is a Sloth Nanny at Toucan Rescue Ranch.This article was produced by The Toucan Rescue Ranch. The Toucan Rescue Ranch specializes in helping wild animals recover so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. For more information or to donate, visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch website. Facebook Comments Related posts:Slothy Sunday: Saving sloths together Slothy Sunday: The Rescue of Volcano Girl (AKA Anise) a two-fingered sloth Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out Slothy Sunday: Overcoming adversity