Monday, July 31, 2017

Esto no es el final. This is not the end.

After spending two weeks in El Bambú working closely with the volunteer mothers and their care groups, my time in Nicaragua is almost coming to an end. During our time there, my group and I taught six nutrition lessons to the volunteer mothers using the rotafolios (flip chart) we created and they played a major role in validating the language and images used so it was appropriate for the context it will be used in. Due to the weather and cultural norms, we weren't able to watch the volunteer mothers do all the replicas (replicated lessons) to their care groups but we did observe three of the six lessons and it was very gratifying to see the work they do for the well being of their community. The three other lessons will be completed within the month of August and there will be a follow up health station in six months to measure the effect of the lessons. Here are some pictures of the last two weeks. Disclaimer; the following pictures don't capture the amount of work we did, the immersion of our project or the endless love the community continuously gave us during our stay. 

This is Mirna, our youngest volunteer mother, ready to teach a lesson on breastfeeding to her care group. The lessons were based on images and dynamic activities in order to get the mothers to participate besides the high percentage of illiteracy in La RAAS (South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region).

Our entertainment station for the kids to draw while the mothers of the care group were receiving the lessons. Having the kids come to the lesson was very important because the PD Hearth methodology requires the children to be fed from the rich nutrient recipes the mothers create at the end of the lesson. Ideally this would allow the mothers to see the improvement in the kids' energy if enough continuous lessons were done but due to the limitations of the community (lots of precipitation, muddy roads and patriarchal households) only 3 recipes were done over a period of 5 days in only 2 of the 3 care groups.

Here is Orfa, one of the mothers of the care group, cutting yuca leaves which are high on iron and easily found around the community. The leaves were added to the empanada dough.

The finalized recipe! Rice and beans yuca empanadas -- a tasty and nutrient rich meal made with resources from the community and by the mothers. The cup contains fresco de jocote (jocote leaves juice); a local fruit that is very high on iron and ideal to incorporate into the children's diet due to the overwhelming high percentage of anemic kids under five years old.

This one is for the women and the babes that made my time in Nicaragua a life changing experience. The potential of the volunteer mothers to capacitate the rest of the community on positive feeding and childcare practices are very promising. A follow up health station in January 2018, will measure the effects of the current PD Hearth intervention.

Nice smores - using (malvaviscos) marshmallows and Chiky's (a very yummy vanilla cookie with chocolate filling).  The kids and adults of the community loved them and it was a great bonding experience outside of work that allowed a multitude of cultures to come together.

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