Monday, December 02, 2013

Cooking Demo in Nyarubungo

VHT uses Hand-Coloured Aid

Donated Food 
Angella and I arrive at Kinoni HC IV shortly after noon. The Nyarubungo Group asked for their cooking demo to start at 2 pm.  There are a couple of Volunteer Health Team members (VHTs) who begin to sort the dried high iron beans we have brought with us. The VHT coordinator arrives on his motorbike with a good variety of pumpkins, potatoes and tomatoes.  Other VHTs add to the enlarging pile.  Somehow the message that VHTs were to bring two community members was not understood so they have come alone.
 At the Orange Sweet Potato distribution a couple of weeks ago, when it appeared that seven of the VHTs from a distant village, had already supplied two community members each from their own fields, we had 7 “extra” bags of OSP vines to distribute.  Within an hour, the VHTs in the nearby parishes had brought in 14 new recipients.  
A tribute to the ubiquity of cell phones and the close connection of VHTs to their community, many of the last-minute recipients were poor, older, female farmers unable to write their names.  VHTs had been instructed to bring pregnant women and mothers with children under-five for the first distribution of OSP vines.  Most of the older female farmers of course would likely be supporting orphans and grandchildren, so we are pleased  with their choice of the VHTs.
HEd With Harvest+ Posters in Runyankole
The Nyarabungo group is eager to show their skills at group teaching using the Harvest Plus posters.  They demonstrate in pairs and play off each other, something I haven’t seen done before.  
Angella demonstrates the Stone Soup Flannel Board Story for them next.  One of the VHTs eagerly steps up to do a repeat demonstration and almost makes her presentation a dance.
Getting the Beans Started
Afterwards I say to Angella, “She made some changes to the story, didn’t she?”
Angella laughs, “She really liked the story!”
At the point in Stone Soup where greens are added to the soup by child saying his grandmother said they were ery nutritious, one of the VHTs go to the garden close to the cook shed and picks a big handful of pumpkin leaves to add to ourpile of ingredients. 
Pumpkin leaves, like all greens, although ubiquitous, are rarely included in meals here.  Like dodo and sumkumiwiki, other locally available greens, pumpkin leaves are regarded as poor people’s food.  I have heard people commenting in surprise, after trying the pumpkin leaves, how tasty they are.  One of our jobs in teaching good nutrition is to reinsert greens into the local diet. 
Flannel Board Stone Soup Captivates
The beans were started early as they will take a while to cook.  Angella is busy distributing and collecting the VHT forms for beneficiaries as we will be tracking who gets high iron beans and orange sweet potato vines after each harvest, hoping to saturate the parish within two years so that everyone has access to enough of both crops to keep their family healthy.

Hand-Coloured Aids Displayed
With the beans on the hearth, as we wait for the rest of the VHTs to arrive, we distribute nutrition pictures and coloured pencils.  A contest for the best colouring job done for each of the five posters is judged by the VHT trainer, Dennis, with pens for prizes.  We will take their coloured posters to be laminated back to back and returned to the VHTs for use in health education

Meal Preparation
I leave with Angella at 5:00 pm.  The beans are almost done but preparation of pumpkin, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, OSP, tomatoes and pumpkin leaves is still underway.  Angella and I are glad we took lunch at one of the local Pork Joints in the area.  We return to Mbarara with the fridge donated to Kinoni HC for the MUST student placements more than 18 months ago.  The fridge according to the Health staff has never worked but unfortunately it was not fixed while it was still under warrant.  We plan to get it repaired at long last.  It feels rewarding  to be able to combine a number of activities on a single visit and we often can.



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