Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mother’s Day, Tree Day, and Malnutrition

May 10th was our Mother's Day celebration at the Family Support Center (formerly la Guardería). As always, the children put together a program of performances, including dances, songs, poetry, and games for the mothers to participate in and win prizes. We had a group of almost 20 Spanish students in attendance to take part in the festivities. Gifts of health and household items were handed out to the mothers in addition to crafts the children had made for them. Everyone shared an early dinner before heading back. 

May 17th we celebrated Arbor Day with the kids by planting four trees. First we discussed why planting trees is important, how to keep trees healthy, and some of the biological functions of trees. Then we went out to plant the trees behind the Family Support Center – two eucalyptuses and two cypresses. The kids had a lot of fun getting their hands dirty digging the hole for the tree and covering up the roots. Afterward they played outside until it was time to go back.

This past week Carmen met with the women who work at the Family Support Center to discuss a problem that faces several of the children who attend: malnutrition. We discussed how the Center provides a hardy, balanced meal and small snack for the children each day, but for some children this is the only meal they are getting. Additionally, there is a perplexing disconnect between the abundance of vegetables grown in the community and the food that actually appears on the family’s dinner plates. Often times it wasn’t an economic issue but rather a behavioral one. Next week, along with distributing scholarships, we will be meeting with mothers of the community and the Family Support Center to discuss the issue of malnutrition and the importance of preparing balanced, nutritious meals.

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