Always eat your vegetables

Always eat your vegetables

Doña Nereyda is a nutrionist and enthusiastic speaker from Nicaragua. Recently, she began an adventure through the mountains, with FRB's Nicaragua - Farmer program, to share the value of eating fresh and local foods. Read her story here! 

As we are winding our way up the road that leads high into the cool, shady mountains of coffee country, Doña Nereyda makes an exclamation at my side, “Look there! It’s tuna cactus! We have to get some leaves for tomorrow.” She has been intently gazing out the window for the last hour, pointing out the different plants, trees, and fruits she spies as we climb further toward our destination.  She does this, I soon learn, in every community she visits. This way, she can take stock of the resources available in each particular community and talk to the residents in a way that is relevant, practical and relatable.

Doña Nereyda is a Nicaraguan nutritionist, with more than 20 years of experience imparting trainings in communities throughout the country with the nonprofit organization Soynica.  We are on our way with a small group of others to the training center of Acción Médica Cristiana (a partner organization of World Renew). Here we will spend two days in a workshop with ten men and women from nearby communities to discuss food, health, local products and methods of preparation.

The folks who will attend the training have been planting vegetable gardens this year for the very first time.  But a lot of them don’t traditionally use vegetables in the foods they cook, so the ripe vegetables have gone either to the market or to waste, not into their family’s bellies.

It goes beyond just vegetables, too.  In rural communities, cooking know-how often just comes from what was passed down to a person from their parents or grandparents.  There is little access to education about how and why to cook balanced meals and many of the healthier traditions from the past have been lost.  Cue in Doña Nereyda, who is just the lady to explain why eating your vegetables is so important.  She is 60 years old, palpably enthusiastic and carries a wealth of experience and nutrition knowledge in her mind.

We see this firsthand the next morning as we begin the training with a basic nutrition theory class.“Today, I am from Santa Luz,” Doña Nereyda emphatically announces to the room, referring to the region where the residents’ communities are located. “And we are going to learn how to make meals using what we already have in our own yards.”

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07/25/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment