by Hannah Creaser
Hello everyone, Hannah checking in again. We’ve had a busy few weeks here!
It is always difficult to get back into the groove after vacation. The first week of July we visited Mombasa, which is a city located on the coast. This was my first time swimming in the Indian Ocean. Mombasa was beautiful and warm, which was a nice change from the Naari region which is quite cold right now. The months of June and July is the cold season here in Kenya, which means grey skies, foggy and an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. Thankfully, we are just now coming out of our cold season and back to enjoying sunny and warm Naari!
The group hanging out on the beach in Mombasa: we decided that we needed a goofy photo! It was beautiful and sunny on this day. Luckily we all managed to escape with only minor sunburns. The Kenyans keep joking that we are working on our African skin.
It was also a bit of a sad farewell, as Madison and I parted with Sarah Muthee, a recent graduate from UPEI Master of Science program. Sarah has become our big sister, our Kenyan protector and, most importantly, our good friend. The first few days without her were definitely a little quiet. Luckily, we know that Sarah is always just a call away (we call her regularly for advice- ha ha!).
We also had our last school parent seminar on Tuesday, at Ndunyu Primary School. The nutrition team has visited nine local twinned schools to perform a nutrient analysis on the uji and githeri being served to students. This is done by taking weights of the ingredients as well as weighing the portions given to the students. The information is then put into an excel spreadsheet which calculates the macro and key micro nutrients in the meals. A week later we return to the school and give a report to the head teacher filled with our recommendations on how they could improve their meals. At this time, we also put on a seminar for the parents where we provide them some simple tips to make staple foods healthier as well as provide a small sample of our super githeri! You may have read about this in past blogs from the nutrition team: super githeri is simply githeri made with all of our recommendations. Our recommendations include using whole grain maize, having a 1:1 ratio of maize to beans, soaking the dried maize and beans, and incorporating one green and one orange vegetable. These changes are very simple and practical things that Kenyans can do to drastically improve their diet.
Madison giving me a quick piggyback. You could say that we were excited to be handing in our last school report.
For this seminar, the teacher had told us to expect 20 to 30 parents, so we were thrilled when we walked in and there were 70 parents! This was also the first time that these parents had heard these messages. The parents asked so many great questions about iron deficiency, proper soaking techniques for maize and beans and more. It was a dietetic interns dream come true to get to share so much nutrition knowledge.
Madison up sharing some of the nutrition messages with Salome (a Farmers Helping Famers employee) translating. Without Salome, these seminars would not have gone as successfully as they did.
This past weekend, I had the honour our receiving my Kimeru name. Here in Meru County, people are given a Kimeru name (Kimeru is the local dialect) either based on their personality traits or they inherit their grandparent’s name on their father’s side. Steven Mwenda from Farmers Helping Farmers and Remmy, a Kenyan vet supporting the vet student team, are two wonderful friends of the team: they decided that I should be called Makena, which means that one that is joyous or always happy. The locals always have a good laugh when we introduce ourselves using our Kimeru names.
Hannah (Makena) is always happiest with a good cup of coffee in hand.
Until next time everyone!