I wanted to take a bit of time to share with you the results of our Knitting for Nutrition project. We finished our trip to Africa, where we joined Hilary in her village for a week of nutrition seminars. It was a lot of hard work, and it was a very rewarding experience.
Truthfully, not a day passed that I didn’t wish each one of you could have accompanied us. I wanted you to see the faces of the moms as they received their booties, or the cute little babies bundled on their mothers back, with bootie-feet hanging out the sides. We were able to reach 10 villages, giving away more than 400 pairs of booties. When we left, we still had 700 booties left to give away. They were sectioned into two portions.
One portion would go to continuing seminars. In fact, during our trip, Hilary received invitations from other villages to come and do seminars for their women. The second portion of booties went to a local maternal health center. We did not initially intend to include the center in our goal for booties. However, when we heard their story, we made the decision to leave some booties with them.
The center is a place where women can to go to give birth in a clean environment attended by nurses and midwives. In the rural villages we visited, there was no running water or electricity. In addition, there is very little awareness of sanitary standards (such as washing hands throughout the day). This all adds up to make the conditions of a home birth extremely risky to both baby and mother. Therefore, every mother who gives birth there will receive a pair of booties as a source of encouragement for her choice.
Our days were exciting as we watched the local nurses and midwives teaching moms how to make healthy baby porridge. It was fascinating to see such rural cooking methods—a large pot sitting on 3 rocks with a fire built underneath!
Every night before our seminar, a “town crier” was sent with a megaphone to travel through the villages announcing a nutrition seminar would take place in the morning. The next morning we would arrive at our destination to find women had walked—some of them from a distance—to attend the seminar. The people were all beautiful and very cheerful. They smiled and laughed a lot. The children were both intrigued and scared of us and most of them sat quietly through the seminars just staring at us!
We want to thank you from our hearts for your contributions. When Federica and I arrived with more than 1,000 booties, you should have seen Hilary’s face. She knew we’d been collecting, but at that moment as we unpacked them in her little hut, our project became a reality for her. Likewise, for us, the next morning when Hilary took us to meet the nurses who had been preparing for the seminars, the project became “real” for Federica and me. It was thrilling. I have uploaded a video onto the website, as well as some pictures. Please watch them for a better idea of our time in Burkina Faso. If you need more pictures, please email me through the site and I would be happy to send you more. We hope that the video will connect you to the ways in which you contributed to the lives of these children.
On behalf of Hilary and Federica, let me say we couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you for your care and compassion. Together we can defeat malnutrition, one child at a time. Together we ARE changing our world, one pair of baby booties at a time. My hope is that you all see yourselves as the world-changers that you truly are. It was an honor to have you on our team.