NO MORE BOOTIES ARE BEING ACCEPTED
WATCH THE WEBSITE FOR UPDATES ON NUTRITION SEMINARS!!
I live in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa—that’s me in the side pony tail and blue shirt. I serve in the Peace Corps in a small rural village with no electricity and no running water. I am the village health development worker. In some ways, it’s the best job in the world and in others, it’s the worst.I can’t bring every malnourished youth I see home with me (according to statistics 38.6% of children under five years of age in Burkina Faso suffer from chronic malnutrition).
All day long I see these children, their bellies hanging out because their muscles aren’t strong enough to hold in their organs, their skinny little arms and swollen little feet… it is crazy.
There are two main types of malnutrition, the type that is just overall starvation, which you see here sometimes. More frequently though, I see the type referred to here as “Kwashiorkor,” a word from Ghana that means “the disease that the first child gets when the new child is born”. (Yes, literally.) These are the children who are breastfed until they hit about two years old and mama gets pregnant again. Then, they are rapidly weaned and moved immediately to a diet of complex carbohydrates (usually the popular Burkinabe dish called To, which is boiled, gelatinous flour).
Their tiny little baby stomachs aren’t ready to process these complex carbohydrates, so they get their body’s minimum energy/calorie requirements met, but receive no proteins and very limited vitamins. Essentially, they have a very unbalanced diet.
It kills me.
The good news is that this condition is reversible. The bad news is that mothers don’t yet know they are the cause of their child’s malnutrition. Therefore if we offer a training on nutrition, they see no value in attending.
And that, my knitting friend, is where you come in….
What mom doesn’t love a hand crafted pair of baby booties? With this in mind, we built “Knitting for Nutrition” as an incentive program. The concept is simple: If Burkinabe moms attend a training seminar on infant health and nutrition, their baby receives a free pair of knitted booties.
In a village so poor that children do not own shoes, booties are highly coveted. Those given to babies at a “Knitting for Nutrition” seminar are likely the only pair they will own in a lifetime. Because of this, moms will be excited to attend a training that takes care of their baby’s clothing needs by giving them booties—and through the seminar they will learn valuable information that will assist them in meeting their child’s nutritional needs as well. Information is power–and this type of information can save a baby’s life.
So, choose your yarn, grab your needles, and get to work, knowing that with every stitch, you are saving a child’s life. Together, we can change the world, one pair of baby booties at a time. Read more…