| This time last year we were in Congo. No one could have imaged what the world would look like just a year later, but what you can imagine is the hardships faced by so many of our beloved Congolese… And now, they are also facing COVID-19. |
In late January, to help combat the rampant malnutrition in the area, we launched a neighborhood feeding program at the MissionGO mission station in Impfondo, Congo. Local families with children showing signs of malnutrition are invited to participate in this daily feeding program, which not only consists of nourishment for children, but also daily lessons in nutrition, health, cooking, and gardening for parents. The main focus is on locally available foods and introduction of nutritious new foods that grow readily in the area, but aren’t traditionally part of their (limited) diet. For example, powerfully nutritious Chaya leaves (for anyone who remembers the resounding negative response we received when we tried Chaya in the hospital feeding program, you’d be interested to know we received a much more positive response to it here!). We’ve been offering cuttings of Chaya trees to families in the program with simple instructions of how to plant, tend, and harvest it. Ideally, the neighborhood nutrition program will not only boost nutritional status of the children in the short term, but build up their families with knowledge and know-how to continue combatting malnutrition on the home front in the long term.