Monday, November 29, 2010

CREN and Malnutrition

22 November – Romongo, 8:57pm

Had an interesting, productive day, with the field trip to the CREN (a center for rehabilitating malnourished children) kicking off two sessions on the topic of malnutrition. I was surprised that we only saw one severely underweight infant, but in our session after we talked about health markers (weight for height, height or weight for age, arm circumference) and a type of protein deficiency that actually results in edema of the limbs, so the baby looks fat but is actually dying of malnutrition. Whudda thunk? It was really interesting and enlightening to learn about different types and signs of malnutrition and deficiencies that we might encounter, and how to treat them. While we were at the CREN we also leaned how they make enriched bouillie, a flour porridge of boiled corn, millet, peanut, bean, and rice flour, mixed with sugar. Bouillie is a common staple food for most families, but by adding different flours you can make it significantly more nutritious along with warm and filling. We also learned about Plumpy Nut, a Nestle product that is essentially enriched peanut butter that makes malnourished kids gain weight like crazy, but has a lot of issues with distribution and reaching the target audience for various reasons.

Language was a bit frustrating, but as Miriam pointed out, her goal isn't to get us to speak Moore, it's to give us the rules so that when we get to site and have to speak it we have the rules to refer to as we learn. That made me feel a bit better – right now I practically have to spend 5 minutes planning every single sentence I want to say unless it's a greeting or responding to a greeting or blessing.

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