In Ethiopia, Yeshemebet has stayed nourished during her pregnancy

Nov 19, 2019 | Inspiring Stories - Africa

In the Mesqan region of Ethiopia’s Highlands, The Hunger Project works hard to promote Moringa, the miracle tree. Moringa leaves contain many vitamins and minerals and they hugely enhance the nutritional value of a daily meal. This can be highly beneficial, especially for young children, new mothers and pregnant women like Yeshemebet Gesahun.

 30-year old Yeshemebet Gesahun and her four children live in the village of Dobi in Ethiopia. Her children are between 3 and 14 years old and she is 5 months pregnant with her fifth child. She married her husband, a tuktuk taxi driver, when she was eighteen. From the remains of peanuts Yeshemebet makes and sells fruska, which is fodder for cows.

Yeshemebet participated in a Moringa cooking demonstration at the Mesqan epicentre. Before The Hunger Project introduced it, Yeshemebet had never heard of Moringa. She usually cooks traditional food, like false banana (trunk of a fruitless banana tree), bread and injera. “I don’t have a vegetable garden, so I need to buy them, but I cannot always afford it. I only cook vegetables and meat when I have enough money. However, now that I am pregnant, I try my best to eat more vegetables and fruit than usual, but it’s a stretch.” Moringa would be beneficial for her and her family; when money is scarce, she’ll still be able to cook with Moringa from the tree in her own back garden!

Amina, the government health worker and host of The Hunger Project cooking demonstration, has explained how highly nutritional Moringa is.

Yeshemebet: “I have helped cook the meals, so I now know exactly how I can use it.” Moringa is only native in the Ethiopian lowlands (where it is used on a daily basis), but The Hunger Project is working towards changing that. The Mesqan epicentre nursery is growing 15,000 Moringa seeds into seedlings. These were given out in June and were planted just before the start of the rainy season.

Yeshemebet was thrilled to receive one of the seedlings and planted it in her own back yard. “After six months, when we can start harvesting the leaves, I will be able to use Moringa in the meals for my family, in our favourite food: injera, for instance!”

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Text: Mariken Stolk
Pictures: Johannes Odé