The Uphill Climb is Worth It, For the Children
Marcos and Filomena work hard to make sure their two little girls are not among the 46% of under-five children in Timor Leste who suffer from chronic malnutrition or stunting. They only used to grow and eat corn and cassava, but have recently added protein in the form of eggs from the chickens they now raise, and will soon have more and better vegetables to include in meals.
Through this new program led by Church World Service, they received a hen, a rooster and information on caring for them. They built a coop to protect the birds from wild animals and thieves, and got these valuable assets vaccinated. Fluffy chicks are now pecking in the yard.
As they wait for the dry season to taper off, Dad and Mom are turning their attention to preparing the soil to expand their home gardening efforts. They’ll receive a wider variety of seeds to plant with nutritional diversity and marketability in mind.
Access to water is a big challenge, though. Marcos says, “We get our water for drinking, cooking, bathing and watering our garden from a spring that’s about 660 feet down a steep hill by a narrow footpath. My wife and I both haul it up several times a day in plastic containers.”
When you consider that water weighs eight pounds per gallon, and consider that Marcos and Filomena carry at least two gallons each on every trip up the hill, you can see that they are hard-working folks! The program has plans to improve water infrastructure next.
It’s all worth it and gives the couple hope, because now they’re able to do more for their little ones. “With vegetables, eggs and chicken meat, we will have a more nutritious and diverse diet for our baby girls, and a bit more money for household needs from whatever we sell,” says Marcos.
Timor Leste Liquica Program
Led by Church World Service