Bringing Hope to Children and Families in Mozambique

How much is a life worth? I would say, at least $25.

Imagine someone doomed to die – but brought back to life, restored to health, for just $25.

Today, You and I have an opportunity to give them a proper diagnosis, initial treatment, and ongoing care. Every $25 given today will provide life-giving care for another child or adult.

I know for many people there’s still a stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. But this epidemic has been raging in Africa for so long, it has now spread way past “risk groups” – and into the general population.

So a little boy can be born with HIV and have no idea. A young girl can prepare for her wedding – girls in this culture traditionally marry at 15 or 16 – having no idea of the danger she’s in. Generations are suffering and Dying. Multitudes of children are being orphaned for lack of simple medical care.

In fact, the government of Mozambique provides the medicine free of charge. And other groups provide the testing. So you might think, “Problem Solved”. But no.

  • In remote villages, medical testing is shunned. They need education.
  • The Mozambique government only offers medicine at certain hospitals. It may take all day on a bus to get there. If you’re living in poverty, you can’t afford a whole day off of work. A single mom can’t leave her children that long. If you’re already sick, you can’t travel that far.
  • HIV/AIDS treatment won’t work if someone is malnourished. Sick people need nutrition education.
  • Living with a transmittable disease means safety precautions have to be taken to keep their friends and family safe. But how will they know what those safety precautions are unless someone them?

We’ve seen lives saved – when someone offers education. Mothers with HIV/AIDS are actually thriving, able to care for their little ones. Children no longer have to watch in horror as their mothers waste away and die a cruel death.

Daskota’s is one family saved. She’s 18. When Esperanca came to her village and set up a “Nutrition Club” she became a member. “I want to learn!” she said.

Her mother went with her. What they learned was shocking news to them. They learned the truth about HIV/AIDS, about testing, about treatment, and nutrition… and more. Today, Daskota’s mother is receiving treatment. Daskota will not watch her mother die of AIDS. A generous friend like you saved her life! 

A man in their village was very sick, but refused to be tested. “This illness is only witchcraft,” he said. But there was hope: Women in the community, including his wife, who have received anti-retro-viral medication are thriving. And they have banded together to help him and others who are shut in. He is now accepting treatment. His life was saved.

As Mother’s day approaches, please give a generous gift to help more mothers and their families in Africa.

  • Your gift will mean prevention as we teach children about HIV/AIDS and spread the word.
  • You’ll help start support groups – one member travels to get a month’s medication for the whole group.
  • You’ll teach the sick how to get and stay healthy.,

I  know HIV/AIDS is a difficult disease to fully understand. However, the reality is that the majority of the people we serve have contracted the disease thorough no fault of their own.

If we turn away, children and adults will suffer – and the real tragedy is that their suffering will be unnecessary.

So I’m asking you to reach out with a heart of compassion to rescue them. I think a life is worth $25. Please save a life – or maybe more – by responding generously today. Let this mothers day be a day of hope and Life. Thank you so much.

Blessings

 

James Hoyt

President & CEO

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Almost TWO years passed….and then an Esperança volunteer surgical team arrived!

Let me take you to La Concordia, Nicaragua

a tiny village settled between lush green mountains of Southwestern Jinotega Department in Nicaragua.

 

                                                           Despite it’s size…it is RICH in history!

By the early nineteenth century a proud man with his family, many friends and all of their cattle, horses, and fruit trees, left the community of San Rafael del Norte to establish La Concordia. Still today men travel horseback into the colonial town square to conduct their business.  Over the last 100 years, many in this village have dedicated their lives to agriculture and the cultivation of crops like beans, onion and sugar cane. In the cooler mountainous areas of La Concordia, coffee plants grow wild.

Doña Celina who is 81-years-young has called La Concordia home for her entire life; it is where she met her husband and where they have raised their nine children.

Arabica coffee grows in Nicaragua and the harvest season is November through February

 

Two years ago, when Esperança met Doña Celina she told us she felt vulnerable and weak. She began to have problems with meals. After eating she had a lot of pain. Her stomach would swell and sometimes the pain was so severe she was unable to work.

Her family became very worried and suffered next to her watching her try to work through the pain. They worried about being able to pay for the treatment that their mother needed. And they were even worried that at her age she wouldn’t be able to receive treatment at all.

Earning more money by gathering more coffee to sell at the market seemed like the only way they could help their mother. Her children decided to take her to have an ultrasound which showed that Doña Celina was suffering with stones in her gallbladder.

Doctors explained that to relieve Doña Celina, she would need a cholecystectomy; an operation to remove her gallbladder.

Getting answers provided hope. However her children still had a lot of fear.

They were afraid that their mother would never be operated on because of age-related risks, and their fears were coming true. At the regional hospital Celina had surgery scheduled and, rescheduled.

Almost TWO years passed….. and Doña Celina never received surgery – her stomach pain continued….

Another surgery was scheduled, her children never gave up, finally Monday-operation day- came. Doña Celina traveled 50 kilometers with her daughters to San Rafael del Norte to the hospital for her operation but her surgery would not be performed. Again, the doctors said her age put her at too great a risk.

THEN HOPE INTERVENED!

At the hospital that day was a nurse from Nazareth Clinic – where our Esperança volunteer surgeons from the U.S. were operating that very week.

It was a surgical mission led by Esperança Volunteer General Surgeon Fred Schneider – made possible by capacity building partnerships, skilled volunteers and generous giving from Esperança’s compassionate friends.

Eagerly, Doña Celina went to the clinic. There were a lot of patients when they arrived, over 40 patients were treated during this mission. The visiting doctors and nurses welcomed Doña Celina for an evaluation.

 

After Doña Celina was evaluated, the doctors wanted a risk assessment for her age. Doña Celina and her daughters were first discouraged because this assessment is expensive and they did not have the money to pay for it. But the doctors told them not to worry, they happily worked for free [little did she know that they even paid their travel expenses to get there]. Doña Celina was evaluated for the risks associated with her procedure and age… with HOPE and JOY, she was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday.

                                                     Doña Celina’s operation was successful!

She had an open cholecystectomy and recovered without complications. Before returning home to her beloved family in La Concordia, Doña Celina shared a message of gratitude with the volunteer surgeons who took away her pain and the worry from her family’s hearts.

She tells us that she is very grateful to Esperança’s volunteer surgical team, for the way they do things.

“Thank GOD you operated on this old woman, since no one wanted to operate on her. I wish you a good journey and many blessings, and that you continue to help more people who need you so much.”

Arabica coffee grows in Nicaragua and it's harvest season is from November to February

Doña Celina left the clinic after recovering, feeling hopeful and strong.

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Water is Life!

Written by: Esperança Board Member, Julie Kurtz, MS, RD, CDE

In Esperança’s Quarterly Newsletter, I read about Maria… a mother who has hope because her family no longer has to worry about drinking and cooking with dirty water. Maria is responsible for all the water her family needs for cooking, cleaning, drinking and washing. Before she had clean water piped to a spout just outside her home, she made multiple trips carrying the over 40 pounds of water her family used each day. The importance of water seems unmissable when you don’t have access to it.

I began to think about how important water is to me and to each one of us!  Did you know that your body is half water?  Your body depends on water to survive. That’s right…take 50% of your weight and that is how much water your body stores and needs to function every day! It makes me wonder how much dirty water Maria would have to carry every day for herself, her husband, and their six children.

Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate joints.

You may have heard different recommendations for how to stay hydrated.  Most people think they should drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal. However, we are all unique and need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other’s may need more than 8 glasses each day.  If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, check your urine.  If it is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.

 

Drinking water is tough for some of us, and if you are one of those people you may ask what else can I drink to stay hydrated? Of course, water is the best option. Other drinks and foods can help you stay hydrated, but many add extra calories from sugar to your diet. Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you get each day. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables (think watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce) and in soup broths.

Have you ever wondered about sports and energy drinks?  For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration.  However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. It contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that can increase your energy and help your body absorb water.

I know what you’re thinking now…what about caffeine?

Even caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and soda can contribute to your daily water intake. A moderate amount of caffeine (200 to 300 milligrams) is not harmful for most people. This is about the amount in two to four 8-ounce cups of coffee. However, too much caffeine can cause adverse effects so it is best to stick to your own safe caffeine limit.

 

 

Especially for those of us who are living in warmer climates or planning to escape to one this winter, I thought a top 5 tip list for staying hydrated would be useful.

  1. Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. I put a bottle in my purse as I am walking out the door every morning and try to drink the water as I am driving into work.
  2. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink. Any citrus will do! A slice of zucchini will give your water a nice flavor as well.
  3. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  4. When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  5. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, think about getting an app on your phone that will serve as a reminder! CLICK HERE for a list of popular apps from Culligan!

 

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October 15, 2016 – Today We Honor Rural Women

Did you know rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, make up over a quarter of the total world population?

In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security. According to the UN.

 

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Learn more about rural women’s contribution to agriculture and the facts in this infographic from the International Water Management Institute.

 

We know firsthand of the hard work rural women are doing around the world.

 

We had the chance to meet 44 hard-working women in a remote village in Nicaragua. Each of them has a tiny plot of land in their village where they farm to feed their families. They have farming and cultivation skills that have been passed down to them from generation to generation, and they work tirelessly to put into practice all they have learned. Despite their hard work, they were barely hanging on. They only managed to produce extremely meager crops. There would be little or nothing left over to sell at the market, which meant they weren’t earning any money. But their lives have been transformed because of their determination and in thanks to generous Esperança donors.

These 44 women have an incredible amount of hope!

Esperança has helped them establish an eco-friendly pig farm in their village. The farm is named “Valle de Esperança” (Valley of Hope) and uses innovative “deep bed” technology which reduces odors and flies. Their innovation and perserverence is remarkable! Special bedding material will quickly absorb and break down fecal matter, eventually turning it into high-value compost to help the farmers produce more and better crops without manufactured fertilizers that introduce chemicals into the soil.

 

The pig farm is nearly a zero-emissions operation. Do you know of any farms like that in the U.S.A.?

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The women are breeding two different species of pigs, both known for their high reproduction rate and high-quality meat. The women will maintain the pigs weight and immunizations which will have the effect of keeping consumers healthy and create a new standard for the region!

 

 

 

“This entirely sustainable micro-business will turn 44 desperate subsistence farmers into self-sufficient producers, able to feed and provide for their children, and set them on the path to a brighter future,” said James Hoyt, president & CEO of Esperança.

Join us in celebrating and congratulating the women in Nicaragua and all around the world who are making a difference in their communities.

 

If you’d like to support our efforts or make a donation to the pig farm in honor of International Rural Women’s Day, you may CLICK HERE or please contact McKenzie at mckenzie@esperanca.org or 602-252-7772 x101.

 

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A Mother’s Strength Helps Her Daughter Stand

Cinthya is a beautiful 13-year-old girl from the community of Ccochua, Apurimac, Peru. Despite the fact that she cannot walk or talk, she is a happy child whose family loves her dearly.

Cinthya’s hometown of Ccochua sits at approximately 10,600 feet in the Andes mountains. Ccochua is rich in fertile soil for growing crops, but poor in access to services, such as hospitals and clinics. Because of the difficulty reaching any medical care, Cinthya’s mother, Evagelina, gave birth to all four of her children at home. Complications in Cinthya’s delivery caused her to be born with cerebral palsy. Cinthya has never been able to walk due to the rigidity of the muscles in her legs. To this day, at the age of 13, Cinthya’s mother carries her on her back everywhere they go, including school, with the aid of only a shawl. Since their rural community is only accessible by dirt roads, Cinthya’s wheel chair can only go so far. Therefore, it is faster and more efficient for Evagelina to carry Cinthya.

Evagalina carries Cynthia on her back everywhere they go

When Cinthya and her parents came to be evaluated by Esperança’s orthopedic surgical mission team to see if she could benefit from surgery, her parents wanted one thing: for Cinthya to be able to walk.

The three surgeons on the mission all took part in Cinthya’s evaluation. Once they had discussed her case and agreed upon surgery, through an interpreter they made sure Cinthya’s parents understood that this surgery would only be one of several that she would need in order to be able to walk. However, they thought that with this first surgery, which consisted of elongating two tendons in each of her legs, Cinthya would be able to stand for the first time on her own. Her parents were ecstatic and asked the team to proceed.

When children have cerebral palsy, they often have difficulty swallowing and clearing their secretions from their throat. Because of this, Cinthya stayed longer in the recovery room than other patients, receiving high quality care and additional supervision from the Esperança doctors and nurses. Cinthya’s surgery was successful in that the doctors set out to do what they wanted to do – make it possible for Cinthya to stand and prepare her for additional surgeries. Cinthya stayed in the hospital for a few more days before being discharged with a pair of crutches. It will take time and more surgeries for Cinthya to be able to walk, but Cinthya and her parents have a new-found hope they haven’t had for 13 years.

In the next weeks, Cinthya will learn to stand and take her very first steps on her crutches. Our team is looking forward to seeing the whole family next year!

The surgical program is one of the easiest ways to see Esperança’s immediate impact in the developing world. And when you consider the expense of a surgical procedure in the U.S. and know that on average for $8,500 we perform 30-40 surgeries you see the impact. CLICK HERE to make a donation today to support the surgical program!

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Uprooted

Hand in hand with you, Doña Rosa and her son Juan have started down a path from relief to self-reliance.

Juan is the sixth child of his widowed mother Doña Rosa. Doña Rosa is one of the 576 beneficiaries receiving assistance from Esperança’s Sustainable Food Security Program because of your friendship.

Doña Rosa has been the sole provider for her 11 children for most of their lives, she cares for two of her grandchildren and one daughter who is incapacitated. Together they live in the community of Tolomosita Oeste, near Tarija, in Southern Bolivia. In this region, where elevation is just above 6,000 feet, the land is capable of producing many different vegetables, but many farmers don’t know how. This is where you come in, keep reading…

Juan is one of the many men and women every year who leave everything behind in search of better paying work in Argentina.

Before leaving home, “We grew vegetables for our own consumption. We tried selling the little we had left over, but people would not buy them because they looked for vegetables that were newer varieties and of better quality,” Juan shared.

Juan said goodbye to his family, his home, and left with his wife and two young daughters to find work in Argentina’s growing agricultural industry, a distance of over seven hours away from his home.

Ask yourself: “What can you do with so little?” And the only answer is: “Try and make miracles!”

Although Juan’s farming skills aided his difficult transition, they could not spare him and so many vulnerable people from the nostalgia and pain that comes with emigrating to find work.

Every year, Juan returns home with his family to visit his mother and siblings and help with the harvest. Juan shared with me that this year was very different… He is thinking of returning to live permanently with his family. This year’s harvest reaped crops and vegetables like they never have before!

Juan explained, “Now I see what Esperança is providing my mother: high quality seeds and technical assistance during the planting, growing and harvesting seasons. With this help, she is producing much more and better quality vegetables just like in Argentina. Now I am thinking of moving back to my country. This project gives the average farmer a much better quality of life. It is very sad to have to live and work in another country. I always felt far away and miss my land and my family.”

And to learn that her son is thinking of moving back home, Doña Rosa couldn’t be happier!

Doña Rosa’s family is growing high yields of lettuce, onion, potatoes, broccoli and celery, to name a few!  Esperança’s Food Security Program also educates family farmers at even higher elevations to grow the ancient grain of quinoa, which is high in protein and vital nutrients—something exceptional where fewer crops can be grown.  This bright story is what Esperanza Bolivia’s staff see every day: The Fruits of their Labor realized in families like Doña Rosa’s.

This program has not only cultivated nutritious, healthy crops, but a budding community pillared by the four team members who run Esperanza Bolivia’s Sustainable Food Security Program. By providing technical knowledge of farming practices, high-quality seeds and agricultural supplies, they see how families are not only increasing their income from selDSCN1581ling the abundance of crops that they are growing, but also seeing each member of the family become more vitalized and empowered.

Your generosity has fed the bodies, minds and spirits of men, women and children who depend on agriculture to support themselves. You have provided a safe, nurturing community, quality agricultural tools and training, and perhaps the most surprisingly important piece: high-quality/resilient seeds.

The need for Sustainable Food Security is especially acute for the overwhelming majority of those who live in rural areas, I need your help to widen our horizons and reach the most remote corners of our world. CLICK HERE to make a donation that will help keep all families together by bringing diverse crops to every family in Southern Bolivia.

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Homegrown

In the United States, Health care providers face a challenge— how do you help the sickest and neediest patients get healthier? Esperança’s work in the Phoenix Latino community models a promising approach to address this issue. 

 

Esperança’s work in Phoenix provides Promotores (Community Health Workers) opportunities to exchange information, share best practices and build skills. Salud con Sabor Latino (Health with a Latin Flavor) works to connect a network of Promotores and expand leadership opportunities for community members.

This increases our capacity to make a difference in local communities!

The use of Promotores has long been known as an effective way to bring information to community members who lack knowledge of healthy practices through the help of other, trusted community leaders.  By providing education for parents and children, Esperança is creating awareness about fitness and healthy eating habits for the whole family. Salud con Sabor Latino utilizes innovative and effective teaching methods with hands on learning, physical activity and community gardening.

Spaces of Opportunity Garden 029

Esperança is empowering Promotores to inform and unite their neighbors. This provides an opportunity for community leaders to have their voices heard and to participate in shaping the topics taught in Salud con Sabor Latino sessions. It includes the issues that are meaningful to them.

By being from the community, speaking their language, and having shared life experiences, Promotores are able to break down barriers that health care providers simply cannot do alone.

Juanita is a Promotora with Padres Promotores of Southwest Behavioral Health and Unlimited Potential. She graduated from Salud con Sabor Latino and is co-teaching the Salud con Sabor Latino 2016 summer session. Unlimited Potential purchased a plot of land at Spaces of Opportunity, a community garden established by TigerMountain Foundation in South Phoenix.

Community Gardening gives families access to more fruits and vegetables to build a balanced diet, it adds more color to their neighborhoods  and their plates, it saves them money at the grocery store, it increases their physical activity AND it gives families something to do together.

Spaces of Opportunity Garden 083

 

At Spaces of Opportunity, various agencies and community groups are growing fresh produce for a variety of purposes, including family and neighborhood consumption, day care centers, senior centers, and sales to local food banks, community health centers, local restaurants and markets.

Promotores invited all of the participants of the Salud con Sabor Latino and Salud con Sabor Latino para los Niños (Health with a Latin Flavor for Children) summer sessions to bring their families to the community work day at Spaces of Opportunity on June 11th. We arrived at 9 AM, it was already HOT and everyone was ready to get their hands dirty!

Groups from all over Phoenix came together for the community work day. Together we pulled weeds, planted seeds and harvested several vegetables that represent the phytonutrient spectrum, including squash, carrots, beets and bell peppers that the families took home with them.

There is a lot of talk about making sure all of the foods we eat represent the colors in a rainbow.  What does this mean?  Why should I do that?  According to Julie Kurtz, Registered Dietitian, the majority of Americans eat a “brown, yellow, and white diet”.  Instead of a lackluster, colorless plate, try to sample all of the colors of the palette including red, orange, yellow, green, and purple.  This is important as you need to ensure that you are receiving all of the phytochemicals your body needs.  Phytochemicals are all of the good nutrients that naturally occur in plants.

 

FoodRainbow

 

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nonetheless help us to be much more than what we are…”  Adelle Davis

 

 

 

As we think about the colors of the rainbow, we should be inspired by better food selections! Looking at the vegetables that were harvested this month made me think about one of my favorite recipes…Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup! The Earthy chard, nutty farro, and creamy chickpeas are a trifecta of deliciousness.

 

 

Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup

The hearty one pot meal couldn’t be easier and makes for a simple cleanup.

You can look for pouches of precooked farro either in the grain aisle or in the frozen section of your supermarket.

Hands-on: 15 min. Total: 25 min.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1-1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 (15 ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can unsalted, fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups chard
3 cups cooked farro
½ cup chopped green onions
1.5 ounces parmesan cheese

 

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next five ingredients (through bay leaf). Cook seven minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and next six ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to boil. Stir in Chard and farro; cook two minutes or until chard wilts. Stir in green onions; top with cheese.

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¡Agua es vida!

Water is life — the phrase echoes through the four communities where Anna Ortiz and Brenda Trejo are conducting water analyses. As interns sponsored by HealthWorks Collaborative, Anna and Brenda are working with Esperança’s nonprofit partner AVODEC to add strength to Esperança’s water and sanitation efforts in Nicaragua.

 

Brenda and Anna have been in Nicaragua for the last four weeks, traveling to remote communities to conduct focus groups with the Water and Sanitation Committee members who are residents of their community and are responsible for the installation and management of the water systems. They want to hear what the committee and other community members have to say about the quality of their water. Brenda and Anna expected to have difficulty breaking into the close-knit communities as outsiders but shared that they have been warmly welcomed in each focus group and that attendance has far exceeded expectations because AVODEC is a such a strong component of the community. “Having a strong community partner makes all the difference”, Anna shared.

 

Anna and Brenda

Brenda is passionate about global environmental health and especially passionate about reducing human exposure to contaminated drinking water; she is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at George Washington University. Brenda is conducting water quality analyses to determine if there are hazardous elements in the drinking water in the villages that have built water systems, thanks to your support of Esperança! She will check for pollutants like metals and bacteria and report back to community members to help ensure the safest practices of treating drinking water are in place and to develop health education campaigns for community members to teach to other villages.

 

Anna has been dedicated to international relief efforts through her service in the Peace Corps and in her two and a half years serving as Surgical Program Coordinator of Esperança. Anna left Esperança to pursue her Master’s in Public Health at University of Arizona. Through her understanding of the importance of the work that Esperança does for vulnerable communities, she came back to intern with us and will be developing an evaluation framework for water projects. She will provide a measuring tool to use for every water system Esperança’s builds. This tool will help Esperança and AVODEC know what works and what needs improvement.  It will help us measure important indicators such as trends in water-borne illnesses amongst children and adults, whether residents are satisfied with the water systems, the quality of the water and its distribution.  The answers to these questions will help us build even better water systems in the future.

 

Esperança eagerly awaits Anna and Brenda’s research results to start making improvements in the water systems and in the lives of community members by next January, which is when construction of new water systems will commence.  Thank you Anna and Brenda, HealthWorks Collaborative and AVODEC for making this important research happen! IMG_9148

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Finding Folate

It is easy to imagine a mother doing anything she could: traveling any distance, facing any threat and paying any price, in order to keep her children safe. What is hard to imagine is a mother working tirelessly only to find that she and her children are still not receiving micronutrients vital to development, disease prevention and well-being. Esperança works every day to build healthy families by laying the foundation for healthy prenatal and maternal care.

 

Mozambique 2015
Being undernourished in the womb increases the risk of death in the early months and years of a child’s life. “Malnutrition is globally the most important risk factor for illness and death, with hundreds of millions of pregnant women and young children particularly affected” according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal by Olaf Muller and Michael Krawinkel. In order to improve women’s nutritional status, Esperança provides food-based solutions accompanied by nutritional education on micronutrients like Folate.

Mozambique 2015
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods such as cereals. Folate helps produce and maintain new cells. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA; the blueprints for cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain and spine. Women need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. For folic acid to help prevent major birth defects, a woman needs to start taking it at least one month before she becomes pregnant and while she is pregnant.

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Every woman needs folic acid, whether she’s planning to get pregnant or not, for the new cells that the body makes daily. Think: skin, hair, and nails. These – and other parts of the body – make new cells each day!
Leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach and turnip greens), citrus fruits and juices, and dried beans and peas are all natural sources of folate. Here’s a list of the top 10 naturally-occurring plant based folate-rich foods:

Rank Food Folate (mcg)

  1. Brewer’s yeast, 1 tablespoon 313
  2. Lentils, 1/2 cup, cooked 180
  3. Edamame, frozen, 1/2 cup 179
  4. Romaine lettuce, 2 cups 152
  5. Pinto beans, 1/2 cup, cooked 147
  6. Okra, 1/2 cup, cooked fr. frozen 134
  7. Black beans, 1/2 cup, cooked 128
  8. Black-eyed peas, 1/2 cup, cooked 120
  9. Spinach, 2 cups, fresh 218
  10. Kidney beans, 1/2 cup, cooked 115

Mozambique 2015
Edamame-Asparagus Saladyields 6 serving

 

Mozambique 2015

Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses

1 lb. medium asparagus, ends discarded
1 (16-oz.) package frozen edamame (green soy beans), defrosted and drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
¼ lb. arugula (or ½ arugula and ½ watercress)
¼ cup shredded parmesan
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cut asparagus stalks into ¼-inch diagonal slices, separating tips. In a wok or large sauté pan, stir-fry asparagus stalks in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat until slightly browned. Add tips and continue to stir-fry for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with defrosted edamame, salt and pepper. Pile arugula (or arugula and watercress) in a salad bowl and toss with remaining Tbsp. olive oil. Top with asparagus and edamame, and sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

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