It was a special event, a fitting celebration of age, though not without its poignant moments as the reality of the hunger amongst this group was clearly and painfully revealed.
Our guests were presented with what was probably the best meal they’d had in years. After initial wariness about this unusual occasion, they relaxed, sang and some even managed to dance a bit. They chatted happily with old friends they’d lost contact with over the years as they became frailer, and less able to travel.
We sent them home with a bundle of food—collectively, these 30 folk, with no income, are responsible for 40 orphans.
The participants left full and happy, and many in the local community were freshly envisioned to value and honour these disrespected, often neglected folk.
We plan that this will become a monthly event.
Because of the severe hunger situation, HRPs of maize, beans, oil & soya meals were issued in October & November as a stop-gap before the main Food Programme kicks in at Christmas.
The scheme continues on with maize-only “tokens” for 75 families a month not on the Food Programme list.
Our milk programme continues to nourish orphaned and AIDS-affected babies on daily basis from our Centre and 3 times a week at Bwanali Village. The babies on the programme are thriving—gaining weight and looking well, despite the poverty at home, but our goats can only give so much milk.
Earlier in the year we moved older babies (12m+) off the milk programme to make way for more vulnerable younger ones.
However, these “moved on” toddlers were sinking back into malnutrition with so little food at home, so we started a Likuni Phala Programme. It’s a maize-based porridge, fortified with soya, dried fish and groundnuts or oil.
Back in April this year we bought in 15 tonnes of maize to be given to the most vulnerable—along with pigeon peas, soya pieces and soap—during the “hunger period” beginning at Christmas.
Last year we fed 145 ultra-vulnerable families, this year we’ve managed to increase recipient numbers to 175 family units, so will be feeding about 750 people (including children) one meal a day for 3 months.
This will be the only meal many of them will eat during this time.
We’re keen to promote and empower self-sustainability, actively working against dependency, but recognise this is not always possible, due to age, frailty or extreme circumstances.
So during this growing hunger crisis, we’ve introduced more feeding plans for the most vulnerable, until the next maize harvest......
Now these youngsters get a nutritious bowlful three times a week, with extra available to help with weaning the younger ones and feeding equally hungry siblings.
This is page 2 of winter update 2013