Friday, August 6, 2010

Moringa and MSC!

The couple of weeks that I have been able to return to site during this vacation have gone by quickly. What with PST and everything else that's been going on these past couple of months, I still want to keep busy, even if school is now over and everyone has either left to go to their families or is out working the fields (rainy season = cultivating season).

The week before demyst when I was home for a couple of days, my Moringa nursery was sprouting with many leaves. Amazing! Many thanks to Kadidja, one of the leaders of my Girls' Club and probably my favoritest kid!

Kadidja and I with my Moringa nursery. Look how fast they grew in a matter of 3-4 weeks!

Me teaching Kadidja the "slide baby" hand game. I just figured out that it's a fun activity that the kids can do anytime AND practice their numbers in English!

After demyst, I had to leave to work a week of training...I come back and find that the (stupid) goats had eaten ALL the Moringa leaves! Grrrr! Fortunately, Moringa grows relatively quickly but it got me all worried because I was going to do a sensibilisation (community awareness session) with my counterpart, Jean, on the importance of planting Moringa and the high vitamin/nutrient content in its leaves, particularly for malnourished babies and children.

Kadidja and her little sister, Mariam, playing the "slide baby" hand game. In the background, you can see my Moringa nursery all destroyed (stupid goats!!).
Regardless, I still needed to do this sensibilisation because I received a small grant for this (thanks Food Security Committee!) and want to follow through, regardless of any setbacks. So Jean, my counterpart, and I decided to work with two women's groups.
One women's group that meets every Wednesday is in a village about 2km from my house (closer to Jean's house). They weigh their babies (in cooperation with a small community center built by the European Union and the Red Cross) and make enriched porridge for their babies. Unfortunately, most of the babies there are either slightly or severly malnourished. Jean told me about this opportunity and said it would be a great way to introduce Moringa and promote the environment at the same time. Sweet! So I ended up helping to weigh babies and then Jean and I introduced Moringa.

Baby weighings!

It's hilarious...the babies are either terrified of me, complacent or get really giddy and happy.
Jean talked more about the agricultural aspect of it, and with the help of some of the people who coordinate this every Wednesday event, we chose 20 women to give the Moringa plants to. Throughout the month of August while I'm off finishing the rest of training, Jean would check in periodically with these 20 women to see how their Moringa plants were growing and to ensure they were well protected.
Giving the Moringa plantling to one of the 20 women we chose.

Me with some of the 20 women who received the Moringa plantlings. See y'all in a month!
When I come back to site in the beginning of September, it would be part two of this sensibilisation where someone from the CSPS (village medical center) would speak more on the high nutritional value of Moringa and how this could positively alter a baby's health.
The other women's group I want to work with is actually at the CSPS itself. Every Thursday, I weigh babies as a secondary project and thought it would be good to gather some of the women I've been working with for a while now and do this same type of sensibilisation with them as well, so we were thinking when I come back in September, this would be a day-long event.
In other news, my Mid-Service Conference (MSC) just happened. ONE YEAR IN BURKINA FASO! One year as a Peace Corps Volunteer! Absolutely insane. It was mostly medical tests and dental clean-ups, interspersed with a day full of sessions where we discussed our successes/challenges during our first year and some of the things we'd like to accomplish during our second year. I felt really empowered coming from that, motivated to start all the new projects at my site and continue the ones I've found most successful. Jon and I are lucky enough to live so close to each other and have made a pact to do more collaborative work together. Holla! More so, MSC made me realize how close-knit our training group is. I love these people! Seriously, they're yet another group of people I can now consider a part of my (extended) family.
The GEE fam, all smiles. Check out Evan and Devin!

...and I like to title this the "awkward/uncomfortable" picture. Hahaha. I love us.
Year two -- let's go!!

1 comment:

MeganElizabeth said...

Congrats on the one year Michael!! Great job!!! :) I'm so proud of you! xoxo I love you and I miss you!