Amansio dos Santos, his wife, five children and four grandchildren live in a small bamboo hut in the mountains of Liquiçá on the north coast of Timor-Leste. They are subsistence farmers, growing pumpkin, cassava, chili and corn. When they have extra produce, they sell locally. With this money, the family buys instant noodles – because the children like it. They buy rice and, sometimes, other vegetables. This is the family’s diet, which CWS came to know about during surveys to prioritize families to join Timor Zero Hunger activities. When we spoke to Amansio, a main reason his family was asked to join was that they ate the same poor diet every days. When Amansio said, “I didn’t realize that eating the same food every day was not good for us”, we knew he, his wife and their children could learn a lot to help themselves improve their lives.
Amansio and his neighbors learned readily about nutritional details of the value of different food groups. Easily, the named foods from their gardens. These were sweet potatoes, cassava, pumpkin and taro root. Because CWS staff know local food traditions, none were surprised to hear, “We usually feed our pigs these vegetables”. But now, Amansio adds that now everyone sees the nutrition value – and the cost savings over store bought instant noodles – of eating home grown food.
CWS will continue working with Timor-Leste families so they can make better nutrition decisions for their children. We will also support improvement and expansion of home gardening combined with new poultry raising so families can reduce food insecurity and so pregnant and nursing mothers have better diets and health too.
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