Food for a mom and her baby to come | Humanitarian Coalition
6 months after Cyclone Idai, mother and child
mother and child in Malawi, 6 months after Cyclone Idai

Photo: CFGB

Food for a mom and her baby to come
September 16, 2019

Just a little over two weeks ago, Mwadaine Nasiyaya gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who she named Tamandani. Things could have been very different.

Mwadaine lives in the Mulanje District of southern Malawi with eight family members, including her three children. When Cyclone Idai hit six months ago, their house was left standing but Mwadaine’s fields were flooded. Her crops of maize, pigeon peas and groundnuts (peanuts) were almost completely washed away.

The small amount of maize she was able to salvage lasted a month. Maize is a daily staple in Malawi, when it is dried, ground, and cooked with oil to create a type of cornmeal porridge, called nsima. But Mwadaine had lost her food supplies and the maize had to be eaten fresh. Some kind neighbours gave her tomato seeds, which she planted in her garden. But it was not enough. They were all hungry, so although pregnant, Mwadaine would hold off until lunchtime before eating her first meal.

When Humanitarian Coalition member Canadian Foodgrains Bank, through Presbyterian World Service and Development, began distributing food boxes and seeds to vulnerable households, everything changed for Mwadaine and her family. Along with the staples, her two young children also received food supplements to ensure they were getting the necessary nutrients. “I noticed a big difference because the kids are energized and healthy. My baby was born healthy and I’m able to produce enough milk for her,” says Mwadaine.

Mwadaine did all the farm work herself while she was pregnant, although she did take some time off when she gave birth to her baby. After a week, she returned to the fields.

Once Mwadaine harvests the tomatoes she’s growing, she will plant the seeds she also received through the PWS&D project.

“Thank you,” says Mwadaine. “I’ve been really greatly helped.”