Moringa tea with the mofo gasy
As a response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the government of Madagascar closed all schools* and declared a lock-down for major cities, including the capital of Antananarivo in April 2020.
This has a major impact on the food supply in the cities, but fortunatelly our remote villages are remote, and this remoteness might be a blessing is disguise. We assured out teachers that they will be paid by Zahana during the mandatory school closures. Teaching is their only income, and since they have no time for farming, they are forced to buy food to eat. We are all in this together and besides distributing school meals, the teachers keep an eye on the school garden and the tree nursery, replanting and watering, a task ‘normally’ done by our students.
Consequently, our two schools in the villages remain closed as well to comply with the national requirements. A closed school forces most of our students to go hungry. The mandatory school closure came rather unexpectedly, leaving especially the younger students in limbo, roaming around the village freely, while their parents are very busy during the rice harvest season, leaving for the fields before day break. Zahana decided to assemble our students every day at school to continue to offer the daily school meal.
Starting with this new school year (September 2019) Zahana provides, once again, a meal every day for our students. For most it is still the first meal of their day. The traditional mofo gassy, similar to a rice cake (see website) is a major treat, and a motivating draw for students to attend school. When possible, the mofo gasy is accompanied by powdered milk, or, like in these photos, by moringa tea, cooked on a improved cookstove.
Last holiday season Santa brought a cup for every child so they could drink something at their school with their very own cup. After the onset of the rainy season, moringa trees started to produce leaves, and this made fresh moringa leaf tea in the school possible again.
Wearing a face mask in public has been made mandatory by the Malagasy government. Leading by example might be the best educational message. Cloth face masks have been provided by Zahana to our teachers and everybody else involved in making and distributing the school meal. We did this in close collaboration with our midwife at the villages’ CARMMA (health center), who does the public health educational outreach about coronavirus prevention measures. She has also been trained to watch for symptoms, such as a possible surge of unusual coughs or fevers. Clinical diagnosis is the only viable option available to her.
Last but not least, both of Zahana’s schools have running water, and students are actually in the very fortunate position to be able to wash their hands before they eat. Something that is far from been taken for granted in many places on our planet. But this is, after all, one of the reasons why platforms like GlobalGiving send you reports like these, because we hope to change this once and for all.
Thank you for your continued support in these strange times without a road map.
* The government just announced that school will reopen next week, but only for the grades that are preparing for national exams.
Washing hands before eating (with his cup nearby)
Waiting in line... Mofo gasy in sight
Preparing moringa tea on an improved cookstove
Teacher and cooks distributing mofo gasy
Moringa tea in the classrom