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|Caregivers and patients enjoying high energy porridge, a sweet and nutritious treat, on the pediatric ward made from the soya harvest from IECM's nutritional and education garden.|
Welcome back. This week the soya we harvested from IECM's nutritional and educational garden has reached malnourished patients on the pediatric ward in the form of high energy porridge. Enough flour remains to present more cooking demonstrations and prepare high energy porridge for patients who refuse to take the therapeutic high energy milk normally used to treat malnutrition.
Soya production is on the rise in Uganda, especially in the Western region, where Rukungiri is located. Processing plants are being built to produce soy-based products in Uganda, such as soy milk, and farmers have more support than ever to grow and market their harvest. While the size of IECM's harvest pales in comparison to large-scale farmers in the area- we worked to maximize our yield by using the harvest as an opportunity to not only to teach caregivers how to prepare a high energy snack for their children but to encourage them to grow soy themselves - preventing malnutrition from the household level.
Day 6: Okuhura and Sorting
After drying the soya in the sun, the next step is okuhura or dehulling (manually) – the basic procedure is to knock the soya beans out of the pods by hitting the dried soya plant with a giant branch. Repeatedly. Turn the pile and repeat. Okuhura is followed by sorting – another manual process though less demanding. And here’s the result (below):
Day 7: At the flour mill
Next, the sorted and dried soya beans are taken to the mill in Rukungiri town for grinding into flour. It cost 800 Uganda Shillings, or the equivalent of 30 cents to grind 4kgs of soya beans. It is also common to grind millet and maize into flour for commercial and personal use.
Day 10: Preparation of High Energy Porridge
Today the soya flour reached the pediatric ward. One of the nurses led a demonstrative cooking session with the help the nursing students. Together they taught the caregivers on the malnutrition ward how to prepare high energy porridge using soya flour, milk, oil and sugar. After the demonstration, each caregiver brought her cup to receive a sample of the porridge. Conversation began naturally between women about the quality of the flour, how to harvest soya and other recipes using soya. The nurse explained how IECM had harvested and processed the soya and answered questions from the caregivers.