The two week field work I undertook in February / March included the following:
Small Village Business Workshop
The first 4 days at Mougulu was spent running a workshop on planning a small village business in PNG. With 41 participants, their understanding varied greatly from those who clearly benefited, to those who were greatly challenged by the topics. A onde day follow-up course will be held later this year.
Distribution of project books
After the small business workshop i set about dividing the project bookletsp into village groups. Each family in the region is to receive the main project booklet that has an attractive coloured cover and includes all lessons taught during the workshops. It is designed as an on-going reference book that I hope will enhance sustainability of the project. Each family (ca 2,000) will also receive a small notes of growing nutritious food in village home gardens, again as a reference to lessons and establishment of demonstration gardens.
Suabi Village Nutrition Workshop
My next task was a visit to Suabi village where I spent 5 nights. I ran the nutrition workshop to over 50 families over 2 and a half days, followed by lessons on how to grow more nutritious food in village gardens and preparing a demonstration garden of corn, beans and peanuts. The villagers worked hard on this, finishing just before dark. I gave each family who had worked on the demonstration gardens seeds of snake bean and peanut so they could grow more nutritious beans and peanuts in their gardens.
Practical, hands-on preparation of nutritious baby foods
At this workshop we discussed babies requirements for nutritious food when they start eating solids at 6 months. At present, mothers will chew cooking banana, for example, and then take the chewed up food and place it in the baby’s mouth. This weak energy food is not the best nutritional option. Together we prepared foods using fresh available produce and dry staple foods, and from that created nutritious high energy porridges. The babies who ate all this nutritious food loved it all, coming back time and again for more.
During the food preparation session, we also showed how pumpkin seeds can be collected, sun dried and then dry fried to make a very nutritious snack food, utilising a valuable food that is now either thrown away or fed to the pigs. Pumpkin seed kernels contain over 10 times the energy of staple foods!