Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Day of the Dead


Day of the Dead


 

The Day of the Dead, November 1, corresponds to the Catholic holiday of All Soul’s Day.  It’s a legal holiday and there is no school.  In San Andeas, the market was open and full of vendors selling the usual array of fruits, spices and vegetables as well as housewares, shoes and the basics of life in one of the poorer areas of the world.  Someone moved in a video arcade for the kids that made a lot of noise and it had the flavor of the fair coming to town.

 

The centerpiece of the day is the cemetery decoration.  As you can see from the photos, flowers, wreaths and especially pine boughs garnished the poor, drab burial ground.  The pine boughs were most prolific because they were simply snapped off pine trees and pushed into the ground—no cost.  We walked through the cemetery enjoying the vivid splashed of color and occasionally reading the names and dates of those passed on.   And of course being reminded of our own mortality and the things that are important.

 

Before long it became evident that many of the graves were small—obviously children.  Once we started counting it appeared that most of the graves may have been small children.  The infant and child mortality rates are high.  The UN rated the area #4 in the world for chronic malnutrition.  Most of us cannot conceive of waking up to the day and not knowing what we were going to eat and where it was going to come from.  But it’s not unusual for many families.

 

The physical and intellectual stunting from this chronic malnutrition is devastating and many of the effects are irreversible.  If children do not get proper nutrients during those precious months of prenatal life and first few years of neonatal life, much of the ground cannot be regained.  When you see adults four feet tall, you know there intellectual capacity is also seriously diminished.  It’s simply heartbreaking!

 

Our prenatal Mother’s program along with the infant formula and toddler supplementation programs are designed to prevent this infant mortality and this very common stunting.  For only $20 a month you can open the door of opportunity for this next generation one family at a time.  Or collect infant formula and send it.  One boy scout recently sent us 5 large boxes  (three large suitcase worth) which we are taking down.

 

 

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