Shortly after our friend Janet Espinosa's Peace Corps assignment ended late last year a new volunteer, Nina Pfeiffer, took over to help coordinate local efforts. One of the big issues Nina latched onto when she first arrived was that of malnutrition. In one of the first email's she sent me Nina was disturbed by records indicating most children had not put on weight or grown taller since being measured a year earlier. Malnutrition and unsustainable development plague the world as one of the main hurdles we must overcome to realize a healthier, more homeostatic future. Yorito does not exist separately from this phenomenon, but both Nina's efforts and those of the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative stand to transform Yorito into a beacon of hope for the rest of Honduras.
In order to overcome malnutrition, Nina has partnered with local women to help start a feeding kitchen. The following is Nina's update on the beginning stages of the new sustainable community gardening/feeding kitchen in Yorito:
|The school where food is being served|
We began serving food at the kindergarten the last Thursday (bean and rice soup) and Friday (rice with milk)! We also have great news...for the next 40 days the kindergarten is going to be receiving rice, beans, soy, and milk as part of an alimentos (nutritional feeding) program. The principal there told us that we could use the supplies to cook with as long as the 15 kindergartners got the food too because they send way too much food for them to use up in 40 days. Also we met with Juan Carlos from La Escuela George Jackson and got the names of the children who are of utmost need right now. It worries Juan Carlos that these children were only coming to school the days that snacks were being served so Fanny Aviles and I went to the children's homes and talked to their mothers. Fanny and I talked to the moms, and they agreed to send their kids to the HCSK to eat AND we also told them that they had to send them to school every day. We are also saving money by having the children bring in their own plate, fork or spoon (this is what the principal at the kinder does with the kids, she gave us the idea) instead of buying the silverware for each child.
|Local women preparing meals in Pacayal|
Right now we have a great group of 4 mothers and one volunteer (an older woman who is a community volunteer) who are helping to cook. There is an outdoor wood burning stove that one of the neighbors donated to us, and we send the beans home with one of the women the day before to cook (because these take more time to cook) so that they are ready the next morning...we just heat them up! Our menu for the week is as follows:
Monday- Tamales with cabbage
Tuesday-Catrachas (kinds of like quesadillas with beans on the side)
Wednesday-Spaghetti with tomato sauce and guineas
Thursday-Bean and Rice soup
Friday-Rice with milk
The only things that we are buying right now are cheese (about 50 lemps a week and tomatoes 30 lemps a week). We are also going to buy some pasta this week for the women in Pacayal to continue cooking three days a week (they have agreed to bring their veggies and sauce we just thought that they are probably tired of cooking soup everyday!) We are going to meet with the women in Pacayal this Friday and they will be weighing the kids again (it will have been one month since they have been cooking together so hopefully the kids will be doing better!)
Word just arrived that community women have already begun planting seeds to provide for the feeding kitchen. The idea is to supply the community kitchen with produce from community gardens. It will take time, but long-term development will eventually make short-term relief less vital. The organization of the community, the leadership of Fanny Aviles and her fellow community members who made the trek to Cusuna to attend the first leadership conference one year ago, and Nina's guidance are precisely the types of traits Byron Morales of the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative is looking for in prospective communities. Please feel free to contact me regarding leading a team in, conducting an educational workshop on, or donating to the sustainable development of Yorito. Some subjects pertinent to appropriate development are:
-max yield organic gardening
-outdoor stove construction
With a little devotion we can be the change. In Jesus' name, Peace.