I know my recent posts have been pretty serious, so I wanted to lighten the mood and talk about some good things happening here.
This morning I started making breakfast and wanted to use the little camp oven. Our wonderful friends Jonathan and Melody have let us borrow it until we someday upgrade and get a real oven. But for now this handy piece of equipment is a huge blessing. I bake all my bread in it, even though it only has a max temperature of 320 degrees and when I put the loaves in it drops down to 200 degrees. Miraculously though the bread bakes all the way through and is very tasty. I wanted to make a healthy fruit crisp this morning with bananas and oatmeal so I popped the oven on top of the burner. I got back to mixing my crisp together to wait for the oven to reach maximum temperature, although it wasn’t long until I started hearing something inside the oven!! I heard its claws against the metal dancing around the now-heated inside. I yelled to David for some help in the kitchen and said, “I think there is a lizard in the oven!” He answered back, “what…?” Then without any further explanation he came and grabbed the oven and ran outside with it. When he opened the oven up he couldn’t find the lizard. Then after some thorough inspection he found it and, unfortunately, it was cooked.
That was the beginning of the day. You kind of have to just go with the flow here and cook your fruit crisp anyway despite prior knowledge of what was previously cooked in your oven. Therefore after a good breakfast we were off to the nutrition center.
Today at the center we saw 23 mothers with their babies. After the babies are weighed and measured and their standard deviation below the 5th percentile marked on a growth chart, they come to me for consultation. I love what I do. Honestly, it is really fulfilling to see a mother come in with a child with a negative 3 standard deviation (severe malnutrition) and receive education and come back week by week on the program, gaining weight every week. This last week I was really discouraged by a mother who just seemed to not understand that her baby needed food other than the supplemental milk we give the babies. Her baby had lost weight and she kept telling me that it is typical for women to cook one meal for the family, eat that in the evening, and reheat the leftovers in the morning for breakfast. I told her her child needs more than that and that she should use green leafy plants they make sauce out of and mix that with peanut butter or cassava. She just laughed and thought I was totally out of touch with the cultural way of doing things. This week she came back with her baby and he gained .5 kg (about 1lb)! I gave her a big hand shake. The week before her baby was unalert and looking limp. I had told her that if the next week he didn’t get better he would need to stay at the center for monitored care. This week she smiled and said she tried the peanut butter and green sauce. I was shocked she remembered the education we gave her since to me she seemed so disinterested. It just goes to show that despite what we think we don’t know the heart. I was so encouraged this week to see not just this mother, but other mothers come back with similar stories who listened to the education we gave them.
One mother came and had a gift for me. She opened up a container and gave me a large bunch of taro. I was so touched with her kindness and gave her a big thank you in her language. Then she said no, I want to thank you because you do so much for all the mothers and babies here. I was encouraged so much because sometimes you feel as if the people you serve can be ungrateful. There were so many blessings today I just couldn’t help but share them. I hope you are blessed as much as I was today.