Lots more to share about my new site! I have a sitemate in my new village - another PCV who is working in the Small Enterprise Development (SED) sector. Her name is Charity but she goes by Chacha. She's been in our village since May of this year and has also been keeping a blog. She's written some really wonderful stuff so I encourage you to check out her blog at http://gypcee.wordpress.com. We've both been in and out for various trainings, meetings, and other things, so we haven't really spent any time together IN our village. But in a few weeks we'll both be back, and I think we're going to get along really well. She's already done a ton of community needs assessment work and laid the groundwork so the two of us can get lots of projects going. I'm very excited to have such a great partner at site!
This week is the "Mother and Child Health Week" held every April and October. I believe I've written about this before, but a quick refresher. Vaccines, deworming pills, and vitamin A are given out freely to children under 5 and women who are pregnant or recently gave birth. My clinic had a lot of extra help and it was obvious I wasn't needed to help with much of the grunt work for the week, so I decided to take the opportunity to really focus on doing education about vitamin A. For the past few weeks I've been testing out various recipes with vitamin A-rich foods so that I could do cooking demonstrations. I finally settled on a simple carrot soup recipe. On Monday morning I gathered all the mothers around who were waiting for the services and had them help me make the soup, talking about why vitamin A is so important to be incorporated into kids' diets. I had been pretty nervous that nobody was going to like it or that they would think it was weird, but it actually ended up being a huge success! Many women studied the recipe to make sure they remembered it. Several wondered when I would be doing another cooking demo and asked if they could come learn how to cook at my house.
When I get back to site after these meetings in the capital, I think I'm going to start a weekly cooking class at my house. I'm VERY excited about this! Malnutrition is such a major concern here because it is challenging to find a variety of nutritious, affordable, and seasonally available foods in rural villages. But a little creativity can go a long way, and it will be lots of fun to experiment with different ingredients and learn new recipes from each other. I also thought it might be fun to share the recipes on here so all of you back home can try them. I have a few up my sleeve that I think may be great for Thanksgiving! Here's the carrot soup recipe:
6 medium carrots, shredded
1-2 small onions, finely chopped
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
You can throw everything all together at once and heat for about 15 minutes, but I find it helps to start dissolving the bouillon in water first. Try experimenting with adding extra spices or ingredients (I really like adding green onions!) As the Malagasy say, "mazotoa!" (enjoy!)
In other very exciting news, I have had a rather fabulous internet connection for the last day and a half and have been able to upload a ton of videos I've taken over the last 15 months! I don't have any from my new village yet so peoples' appearances and the things you see in the background look VERY different from my new site, but I will work on getting current videos too. I have about 15 videos so I won't put them all in here; I'll spread them out over the next couple of days. (They are already loaded on youtube so if you're so inclined you can view them all on my account, walliesfilms.)
The first video is a tour of the clinic I worked at in my first village. Every village varies a bit in terms of size and number of the clinic buildings, how many staff work, how many patients come, and what the weekly schedule is. However, this should give you a good idea of what most clinics are like in Madagascar.
For all you non-believers, here is PROOF that I can kill a chicken with my own two hands!
And finally, 2 videos from the Jerry Marcoss concert I mentioned in my last post:
Hope you enjoy watching those!