Published: August 3rd 2012August 2nd 2012
Bricks and grass...
In some of the communities in Huachipa, many of the men work as brick makers... the land used to be more flat but they keep digging more holes and use the dirt to make the bricks. Other people are dedicated to growing grass and selling it in other parts of Lima. Huachipa is very brown and there is hardly any grass in the communities. Part of the Health Families program is encouraging families to have "green areas" so some families have planted trees and small shrubs.
Finally I'm going to write a little bit about what it is that I actually came to Peru for! I'm working with the Nutrition & Health Office for the NGO CESAL. At first, I was just accompanying the workers when they went to the communities to visit families and check in on health centers and schools. The past couple weeks, I've been given some more concrete responsibilities so that's been nice because I feel like I'm actually contributing a little bit.
One of the skills that I really want to develop is monitoring and evaluation. For the current project in the Nutrition and Health Office, "Healthy Familes and Homes," they have to do evaluations every 4-5 months to see how the families are progressing. Luckily, July is one of those months! I have accompanied some of the staff members to do evaluations and on Tuesday, I finally went with one of the community health workers by myself and conducted two evaluations! It was exhilirating to be able to find my way through the community by myself and then get to visit with the women :-) After we finish the evaluations, I will be in charge of accumulating all the data
Reinforcing healthy habits...
I accompanied Katy to visit some of the moms to reinforce some of the things they learned in the workshops - such as the 5 most important moments to wash hands and the correct steps for washing your hands.
and analyzing it.
The other project that I'm really excited about is related to food security (and nutrition), though the Office generally works more directly with nutrition. I'm researching what local foods have the highest content of different nutrients (iron, vitamin A, folic acid, zinc, and calcium). These nutrients were chosen because these are the ones that are common deficiencies in the populations we work with in Huachipa. After finding the 10 foods with the highest content of each nutrient, then I have to figure out how much of each nutrient is present in a regular sized portion for children aged 6 months-5 years. When finished with this, I will go to the various markets in our communities and see how much the foods cost. This has to do with the access and availability aspects of food security. If we are recommening that families eat turkey because it has a high iron content, but turkey turns out to be the most expensive thing in the market, then we could see what other foods have a similar iron content but are more affordable for the families.
Overall, it's been a good learning experience so far!
There are more photos below