A grandmother’s love
It is 8am. I am finally at our feeding site in Bosasso, Somalia.
It is already crowded – malnourished pregnant and breast-feeding women, children and grandparents acting as carers fill the place.
Our dedicated team (two nurses, two nutrition assistants, a community nutrition volunteer and a nutrition educator) are gearing up for another busy day. They will be taking the weight, height and middle upper arm circumference (MUAC) to determine the nutritional status of both the mothers and the children.
The only goal is to survive
The women sit in the sun waiting for their turn and their faces tell a story of endurance and fortitude.
Most of them are migrants from the south, who came to Bosasso in search of a better life. Some fled the insecurity, while others came looking for employment in the busy Bosasso port.
The lure of the city life buzzing with activity and flourishing businesses offers a ray of hope to their frustrated existence. However, as is common to urban areas, unemployment is high for both skilled and unskilled labour.
They are reduced to living from hand to mouth. In this battle, the only goal is to survive.
A chance to live
An elderly woman holds her grandchild in her frail arms as she waits for her turn.
She is not eligible to receive rations at the centre, but her grandson is all she cares about at the moment.
She has lived a long and difficult life, but lived nonetheless. She would like to see her grandson get a chance to do the same.
“His name is Mohamed”
She arrived at the centre at the crack of dawn and, after three long hours, she finally hands over her grandson to our nurse. He breaks into a loud cry.
“His name is Mohamed,” she tells the nurse, who quickly scribbles his name on a card before reading his weight on the machine.
His distended stomach, thin hair and swollen legs tell the story of the scale of food insecurity facing the country.
After 20 minutes, the assessments are complete and Mohamed is admitted to our programme. A look of contentment fills his grandmother’s face as she watches him take his first bite of life-saving high-nutrient peanut paste.
The community nutrition volunteer tells her that Mohamed will need to take it for the next three months or until he is better. She thanks him as she walks out of the centre, satisfied that she has accomplished her mission for the day.
This blog was written by Henry Enunu, Nutrition Coordinator, Puntland.