Tag Archives: Africa

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

 

A United Kingdom,  DVD Review, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, 1946, Great Britain, Africa, racial intolerance, Lloyd's of LondonA United Kingdom

DVD Review by Kam Williams

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

Upon the untimely death of his father, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) was crowned the King of Bechuanaland at the tender age of 4. But his Uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) assumed the reins of power until the heir apparent could complete his education.

While studying law in Great Britain, Seretse fell in love at first sight with Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a lowly clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Their whirlwind romance ignited an international firestorm of controversy because of their color, not their class, differences.

For, he was black and she was white, and this was 1946, a time of strict racial segregation. So, the couple’s scandalous liaison was met with resistance both in England and back of Africa.

Although they found themselves assailed with racial slurs like “slut” and “savage” while out on dates, the hostility only served to intensify their feelings for one another. Meanwhile, Seretse was threatened with the loss of his throne, since Bechuanaland was a protectorate of neighboring South Africa, a white supremacist nation. Nevertheless, he got down on one knee and proposed to Ruth and the two married just a year after they met.

Unfortunately, major impediments were subsequently placed between the exiled young monarch and his governing, and that struggle is the subject of A United Kingdom. Directed by Amma Asante (Belle), the film was shot on location in Botswana, which is what the country has called itself since gaining independence in 1966.

Because the movie telescopes tightly on Ruth and Seretse’s relationship, it’s success or failure is destined to turn on the performances of co-stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. The good news is that they’re very talented thespians capable of disappearing into their roles while generating the requisite chemistry to make their characters’ enduring affair convincing.

The film’s only flaw is that it feels a bit rushed, as if director Asante had a long checklist of touchstones from “Colour Bar” (the 432-page book it’s based on) she was determined to shoehorn into the encyclopedic biopic. Nonetheless, the final product is a praiseworthy production reminiscent of another true tale of racial intolerance.

Can anybody say, “Loving,” African style!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and ethnic slurs

Running time: 111 minutes

Distributor: Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Making of A United Kingdom; Filming in Botswana; The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth; and London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere.

To order a copy of A United Kingdom on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06Y4S4VBX/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Gifts That Give Back to Others

 

Gifts That Give Back to Others

by Amy Lignor

 

When it comes to the holidays and the long, long list of places to shop, things to buy, etc., it’s nice to know that there are companies out there not only providing quality goods for the holidays, but also using your money – the buyer’s money – to help worthy causes. It’s a great time of year to support those out there who need the
brothervellies.comsupport. Not only that, but also supporting companies striving to use only eco-friendly products when it comes to their goods and/or services. Although some prices may be higher than the consumer wants to spend, it beats throwing your hard-earned money away on those HDTV’s or cell phones. With these gifts you will be receiving the added gift of knowing that you helped out the right people and/or did your part in preserving the planet.

From diverting resources from landfills to women’s empowerment to sustainability, here are unique gifts to give to the people you love and support brands that have literally signed up to change the world.

We begin with the country of Africa, which has garnered many news headlines as of late. It is the Ambassador Amina Mohamed who spoke about how Africa is attempting to unleash its full potential in the coming years. For those who are unaware, Africa is not only the cradle of mankind, it also plays home to the youngest population in the world. The people in charge wish to enhance their economic growth by promoting democratic ideals in the years to come, and put their trust and support behind these young minds so they can literally grow up and change the world.

Made in the very first African workshop that makes high heels for women, comes the Brother Vellies Bianca Boot for Christmas. This is something that all women will drool over and beg to have as part of their wardrobes. (brothervellies.com)

Also from Africa comes the Indego Africa Mini Liyo Bag. Handcrafted and stunning, the profits made from this wristlet handbag are used to fund educational training programs for the women of Africa who handcraft them. (shop.indegoafrica.org)

Peace Treaty Hamba Earrings are incredibly modern and created by a cooperative based in Jaipur that generates sustainable income for Muslim, Jain and Hindu artisans. (apeacetreaty.com)

For the runner in your family, the Veja Esplar leather sneakers are perfect for both male and female. Created from wild Amazonian rubber harvested by local families, the consumer will not only love the sneaker, but also be proud that only sustainable methods were used to gather the materials and absolutely no trees were harmed. (veja-store.com)

Ace & Jig is a great brand that has offered women who love to wear athletic clothing, a new leisure item. Working with a textile mill in India, by purchasing the Ace & Jig pants, you are supporting a fantastic company that provides free childcare for all their weavers/employees. What a great idea to offer employees in this country, don’t you think? (garmentory.com)

Africa, eco-friendly, Peace Treaty Hamba Earrings, Omondi Pullover, Patagonia Recycled Jacket, incredible gifts, earth friendly, Christmas, gift ideas, Ace & JigAlthough there are many recycled jackets on the market, it is the Patagonia Recycled Jacket that has all the cool guys and manly-men yapping. As rugged as Indiana Jones would don, this product is made from 100% recycled down, wool, and polyester. This is definitely a company working to save the planet one jacket at a time. (patagonia.com)

Also working with gathered and repurposed fabrics, but from vintage stores, the Omondi Pullover made by designer Recho Omondi features hand stitched embroidery and will become a wardrobe favorite immediately. (rechoomondi.com)

There are a great many companies working all year round to product the most amazing goods for all of us to savor at Christmas, while also doing their very best to stay eco-friendly, and support their citizens, and you can find them on the Internet under all eco-friendly brands/stores.

One not to be missed out on, however, is a company called Bambeco. Beginning on Earth Day 2009, it was while the two founders were standing on a dramatically receding glacier in the wilds of Alaska—when they saw evidence of how the shift in climate had begun to harm the surroundings—that they decided to act. They began to wonder if they put together one resource for home goods where every product offered impacted the world in a positive way, if consumers would gravitate towards them. They did. Bambeco is now the premier brand for sustainable home goods, offering an assortment of products that are all original in design, reclaimed, recycled, repurposed, renewable, natural or organic.

So this Christmas, as you’re scurrying around to shop for all the ones you love, take some time to check out these incredible gifts that offer both the giver and receiver a great feeling of having done something awesome for this planet…and its people.

 

Source:  Baret News

Spotlight on Africa

 

Spotlight on Africa

by Amy Lignor

 

As the year winds down and comes to a close, it is Africa that is receiving some headlines that call for many changes and improvements to be made in the coming years.

It was Ambassador Amina Mohamed (Nairobi, Kenya) that spoke recently about the African Union Commission (AUC) and how the group must provide leadership in the coming years. After all, the nation of Africa, Amina Mohamed, Agenda 2063, social change, the vision, climate change, social justice, peaceAfrica is, in truth, the cradle of mankind. They also house the youngest population in the world. There is huge potential to be garnered from these young minds, and it looks as if Africa and its government wants to do nothing more than to take that path. Africa has huge potential in many areas, and by enhancing their economic growth and promoting democratic ideals, they have a chance to do great things.

The Ambassador stated: “I strongly believe we can drive an agenda that realizes a common vision of integration, cooperation, collaboration and committed leadership.”

What was “introduced” was the African Union’s blueprint: Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want. This Agenda speaks of many things, from business to social changes. The ways to implement a variety of new markets, and increase trade and investment with other nations is talked about, as well. Communication between nations was touched upon, and ideas to decrease the infrastructure deficit were shared. Taking a step forward includes sharing ideas and resources with other countries, which will allow a door to be opened to bring more education across the continent. And development of infrastructures would bring about more intra-Africa rail, road, air and water linkages that would help the people and businesses of Africa gain momentum.

 

The African Continent looking at fast-tracking their mining industry in the coming years is an added extra to make themselves heard and respected on the global scene in all areas of commerce. If Africa takes greater responsibility for financing its development and programs, which was the agreement made by the Finance and Planning Ministers in 2015, with the leadership at the AUC, their ideas can be fully implemented.

 

The headlines in regards to Africa also focus on the citizens. Agenda 2063 talks about creating a human force that will resolve Africa’s challenges. This “force” will certainly stem from the capacity of their youthful population. (In 2015, African Youth aged 15 – 24 years accounted for 19% of the global youth population; this is projected to increase to 42% by 2030). Those in charge state that women must be fully enabled to play an inclusive role in all areas of Africa’s development. It is an absolute goal for every African to live a life of dignity, be free from harm, and attain social justice. Peace can come from the fact that everyone has the opportunities to realize their full potential. And with peace and pride and dignity, Africa can find its stability.

 

Amina Mohamed
Ambassador Amina Mohamed

Making strides in various areas, Africa has expanded access to both better education and better health care. By investing in agro-processing, they believe they can increase Africa’s global market share. And when it comes to the issues of climate change, Africa’s government believes in global cooperation in order to get these issues solved before it’s too late. Africa actually remains the most vulnerable to effects from global warming, which is why Agenda 2063 speaks about everything from adaptation measures to utilizing indigenous knowledge to generate solutions to building more resilient communities.

 

As we move forward into 2017, it will be interesting to see what Africa does and what its government is able to provide. It is most definitely time for successful journeys in Africa, and for its people to gain opportunities. The vision of an independent Africa is a good one, and hopefully that realization, through the government and the AUC, will occur.

Source:  Baret News

BUTTERFLY ENERGY

 

 BUTTERFLY ENERGY

~by Diana Lynn

Colorful butterflies feeding on minerals in a dirt road
Colorful butterflies feeding on minerals in a dirt road

 Colorful butterflies surround every pothole puddle for miles along the stretch of road that connects Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi. Other protected areas rich in butterflies are Kibale and Bwindi National Parks, which are also greatly forested. There were thousands of brightly iridescent colored butterflies everywhere I walked.  If you stood still, they would light on you and then flutter away.  These butterflies seemed content to stay on the African’s bodies but not on the tourists, except for me.  I seemed to be a magnet for them.  And one of the tour guides in Bwindi took me out for a couple of hours to observe everything, because I was easy going and really enjoyed taking “in” their Africa’s smallest details. He told me, that he had never seen the butterflies land on a white woman before in such large numbers, there were no bare spots on my body; all were taken by these awesome and engaging butterflies.  He was miffed and I was thrilled; I believed they came to me because of the Reiki and the energy work that I do.  When the butterflies were on my body, they were receiving the Reiki which in turn gave them a strong dose of vibrant energy that insured their safety from the animals and the elements for the next 36 hours! For me to have all these butterflies on my body were several moments of sheer joy with their sharing with me; it felt like gentle nudging’s of shared connection for me and much more for the butterflies. The vibes that I felt from them:  “Where did you come from?”  “Are there more of you?”  “We haven’t felt this before.”  “Stay, we like this vitality.”

This is what Nature loves to share with people, their individuality!

Contact Diana Lynn at Pathways to Understanding (208) 584-9034 or

e-mail Diana@pathwaystounderstanding.com

 Uganda's most stunning butterflies Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Located in south-western Uganda, at the junction of the plain and mountain forests, Bwindi Park is known for its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Many types of birds and butterflies can also be found there, as well as many endangered species, including the mountain gorilla. 

Why Are 3.5 Million Children Dying Every Year from Severe Acute Malnutrition?

 

 

Global hunger affects 1 billion people each year. Severe Acute Malnutrition, known as the “immediate killer”, will very likely take the lives of 19 million children this year. In 2013, at least 3.5 million children died from malnourishment. That is an average of over 9,500 deaths a day—400 an hour. It’s the equivalent of 19 jumbo jets each full of 500 children crashing…day after day. It is a horrific visualization, but it is also a gross realization.

Why are people malnourished, children specifically?

This can seem like somewhat of an obvious answer—most ‘do not have enough food’. This can be both a result of a lack of resourcesstaring_at_camera_large 2 due to their geographical location and topography, as well as famines such as the one that is currently sweeping most of Southern and Central Malawi. But, once you dig deeper, you will realize the issue is much more than environmental inhibitors.

Children under five are victims of the most hunger related deaths, more so than any other demographic. In many nations, such as Malawi, Africa, there is a cultural hierarchy—one that unfortunately promotes children eating last. The youngest child is the last to eat at every meal, and these children rarely eat once they are finished breastfeeding. Hunger and malnutrition therefore kill more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Malnutrition weakens the children’s resistance and increases the risk of dying from pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles or AIDS. Many malnourished children die because they are vulnerable to repeated bouts of disease and infection. Most of the damage caused by malnutrition occurs in children before they reach their second birthday.

So why is change so difficult?

Real, noticeable change requires fixing the entire problem—not just one aspect of the problem. What do we find when we dig deeper? We find that the majority of the world’s issues are all interrelated.

Change is so difficult, I believe, because it is a call for multiple non-profits and causes to work together—to fight together. We all have the same end goal: saving lives. So why aren’t we doing more as a united front? Change is difficult; but, change is powerful.

If we solve the issue of malnutrition, we can sometimes simultaneously eradicate other fatal diseases in the process. Malnutrition, by no means, will be the end to malaria, measles, AIDS, and the like. However, solving malnutrition can mitigate the number of deaths from other related diseases.

What does PB+J Foods (Peanut Butter + Jesus) do?

Photo-4-Malawian-Child-Suffers-from-Severe-Acute-Malnutrition-Hours-Before-Death 2PB+J is a non-profit organization that is determined to put an end to the unnecessary deaths of countless children from Severe Acute Malnutrition. PB+J produces and distributes a fortified peanut butter paste to the villages of the Nkhoma region of Malawi, Africa.

PB+ J Foods is working tirelessly to save the lives of 11,000 children in 2014, the organization we needs your help. For $30 you can save a child from starvation.  You can make a donation at pbjfoods.org/donate. If you are part of an organization and believe that our organizations could create a powerful, united front, contact Stan Smith at stan.pbjfoods@gmail.com or call (949) 702-3187.

Learning The Meaning of Giving

 

By Whitney Leets

 

Horrific statistics—we hear them every day. It’s not every day when you can be a force against one of the worst global statistics in existence. Nearly 20 million children around the world suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), and it contributes to the death of more than 3.5 million children every year. This past August, I went to Malawi, Africa with PB+J Foods (Peanut Butter & Jesus) in hopes to curb this statistic.

 

Story #6 - Photo 2.Whitney Leets Dancing with Malawian Child
Whitney Leets Dancing with Malawian Child

It’s challenging to explain a place and culture like Africa without experiencing it firsthand. Every parallel or comparison I attempt to draw from an American perspective does not even come close to the amount of devastation, hardship, and unjust situations I witnessed.  You might be thinking, why would a 20 year old college girl leave all familiarity behind—comfortable living, friends, family, and of course, the ever important cell phone reception to go to help people in Africa who she has never met? This question can be answered easily, without hesitation: Alan.

 

After serving in the Nkhoma region for the first week, I was both physically and emotionally exhausted. I remember journaling that Thursday night, frustrated as to what my purpose was here after having served for four days. I knew the goals of the team, but God, why me and not someone else? What do you want to show ME?

 

That next morning, God gave me my divine appointment. We were doing our normal village walks, which consist of talking with the Malawians, praying with them, and being in fellowship with their children through sports and activities. During our closing comments with the villagers, I saw a little boy sitting up against a tree, and was immediately drawn to the severe infection that took over his right leg. I felt the immediate need to grab Stan Smith, founder of PB+J, to go and talk to the little boy with me. The 18-month child was overwhelmed with pain, and had been living with these horrible feelings for the last 3 months due to an accidental burn from a cooking fire. With no ability to make a 40-mile roundtrip to Nkhoma Hospital on foot, Alan was left to fight off the burn and resulting infection. I was able to take Alan and his mother to the hospital, and Alan was able to be registered and have the first medical check-up of his life. His injury was cleaned, bandaged, and was to be treated with internal medication. I thought to myself—wow, God has really shown me why I’m here! Then, like God always does, He goes above and beyond in meeting your expectations. During the medical check-up, doctors noticed that Alan was running a fever. After further testing, Alan was found to be positive for Malaria. Malaria, a disease that is completely treatable, is one of the number one killers of children in villages because children have weak immune systems and do not have the means to naturally combat the illness. This was my “aha!” moment—my moment of realization that I am having a direct impact on the lives of these people.

 

Want to know the craziest part? Saving Alan’s life cost 84 cents. Transportation, hospital registration, check-up, treatment of injury, malaria test, antibiotics, and malaria medication. Eighty four cents.

 

 

Whitney Leets Playing with Malawian Children.
Whitney Leets Playing with Malawian Children.

No amount of words, tears, or emotions can articulate the effect Malawi had on my life. How do you live knowing someone else is alive because of you? You can argue that ‘anyone’ could have seen Alan’s leg and helped save his life. But, I would like to argue that you have missed the point. God knew I needed Alan as much as he needed me. God gave me the eyes to see what no one else was able to see and experience in that village on August 9th, 2013.

 

After much reflection and prayer, it is because of experiences like the one I had with Alan that I decided to forego the opportunity of studying abroad in Madrid this semester, and felt lead to work for PB+J part-time. I have learned the meaning of giving, and cannot picture my life without Malawi as an integral part of it.

 

Malawi—this  ‘alternate universe’ – created at first what seemed to be an uncomfortable disconnection, but quickly become everything I wish my life at home could embody. Amidst the many devastating problems that exist, Malawi will always be a symbol of peace, simplicity, happiness, redemption, and God’s undying love and compassion. My Malawi will always be Alan.

To Join PB + J helping the Children of Malawi Please visit:   http://pbjfoods.org/donate/

 

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"How Locally Made RUTFs Are Saving an Entire Country"

 

 

If you found out that every day this year, 11,551 children died as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), would you be shocked to tears?  If you found out that this horrific problem had a solution would you do everything within your power to bring that solution to reality? That’s exactly what the founders of a small non-profit organization from Laguna Niguel, California are doing.  They  call themselves PB+J Foods, Inc.

PB+J (Peanut Butter + Jesus) was established to treat Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Malawi, Africa. Malawi is ranked one of the

Following mom’s example, Malawian child helps carry the PB+J RUTF load
Following mom’s example, Malawian child helps carry the PB+J RUTF load

Top 10 least developed countries in the world. Its residents fight a consistent uphill battle with malnutrition. And, while they may not have the resources to take down this epidemic once and for all, they can save tens-of-thousands of lives every year.

So, what is the solution? PB+J, in conjunction with Nkhoma Hospital, has set up a self-sustaining manufacturing site in Malawi to create a fortified peanut butter paste that is proven to save the lives of thousands of children suffering from SAM.

This fortified peanut butter is a ‘RUTF’, or Read to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). RUTFs are soft or crushable foods that can be consumed easily by children, from the age of six months, without the need of adding water. The peanut butter paste is a high caloric food supplement consisting of peanut butter paste, powder milk, sugar, vegetable oil and a vitamin/mineral micro nutrient package. The peanuts contain mono-unsaturated fats, are easily digestible, and are high in zinc and protein, which greatly help the immune system to fight disease, especially Malaria which is a major contributor to the high death rate in the region. A great benefit to this type of RUTF is that it can be stored without refrigeration for months without spoiling and requires no cooking.

In just the first year of operation and production at Nkhoma Hospital, this PB+J Foods –produced RUTF saved the lives of nearly 1,200 children. This past week, new high volume production equipment has completed manufacturing in South Africa. Once this new equipment is shipped and installed  PB + J Foods is expected to increase its production of RUTFs 10 fold. That’s 11,000 lives that will be saved in 2014—and that’s just the beginning.

4-year old Malawian girl experiences PB+J photographer from the U.S. for the first time
4-year old Malawian girl experiences PB+J photographer from the U.S. for the first time

PB+ J Foods is working feverishly to raise enough money to save the lives of 11, 000 children per year.  A donation of just $30 a month will save the life of a child. With its new increased manufacturing power, and additional sponsorships, PB+ J Foods will be able to meet its goals.  As the message of its progress spreads around the world, there is no telling how many more production plants PB+ J Foods  could establish, and how many more thousands of lives it will be able to save. It could, with the right support form individuals, organizations, and some divine intervention, save the entire country and establish a foundation and process for other impoverished parts of the world to emulate to save their population.

To make a donation to further support the efforts of PB+J Foods, visit www.pbjfoods.org/donation

 

 

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Tears of Sadness, Tears of Joy (Haley’s Story)

 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

 

I’m a 25 year-old, single young woman boarding a plane to live in Africa for a year by myself. Am I Crazy? Probably. Am I Terrified? Definitely. Is this fate? Without a doubt.

 

Upon graduating from St. Mary’s College of California in the spring of 2011 with a degree in Kinesiology Health and Human Performance, I was looking forward to obtaining a master’s in nutrition, or possibly even teaching English in Spain. Little did I know

Haley Hunsaker with Crowd of Children in Malawi, Africa
Haley Hunsaker with Crowd of Children in Malawi, Africa

that today, my life wouldn’t resemble my model whatsoever—I chose adventure.

 

I had never had much of an interest in mission work, but felt God calling me to go to Africa. It was no coincidence that Coast Hills Community Church was planning a trip to Malawi in August 2011. Within five days of hearing about the trip, I was signed up. After three weeks in Malawi, helping hundreds of malnourished children gain access to a fortified peanut butter that would save them from certain death, I knew it was something I couldn’t live without.

 

As many unemployed, recent college graduates do, I was telling God ‘this is what I want to do, make it happen’. However, one day upon my return from Malawi, I broke down crying and prayed to God, asking that HE would show me what HE wanted me to do with my life. I promised to listen. The next day Stan Smith, Co-founder of PB+J Foods, Inc., called me and asked if I would meet with him. Halfway during our meeting, I agreed wholeheartedly to spend a year living permanently Malawi. He told me to go home and sleep on it, but I knew in that moment that THIS was the answer to my prayer.

 

Over the last year, I have had the blessing of creating the first PB+J plant, in partnership with Nkhoma Hospital, that creates and distributes fortified peanut butter—hands down my greatest triumph! I have also been able to witness firsthand the transformation in the lives of children that have been prescribed our fortified peanut butter paste. One of my favorite success stories involves a pair of triplets. These boys were born during my trip in August 2011 in Nkhoma Hospital to a mother who already had 3 children at home. In August 2012 when they came back in for a checkup, they only weighed 12 pounds, and were unable to stand. We learned that upon the birth of their three new sons, her husband left her with nothing, and the mother was not producing enough milk for all three newborns—a recipe for death. We started them on the peanut butter regimen immediately, and within 2 weeks they were well on their way to a full and happy life. Is there anything in life more fulfilling than saving the lives of these triplets and thousands of others?

 

My decision to say YES to Africa and to God’s plan has been the best decision of my life. My tears of sadness and frustration regarding my uncertain future quickly manifested into tears of joy upon accepting the adventure of a lifetime—creating a future for so many children of whom without PB+J, wouldn’t have even had one.

To help us Transform the Lives of Children visit:  PB+J Foods 

 

 

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CHILDREN EAT LAST AMIDST FAMINE

 

 

 

“Tlala e lala tlas’a sesiu”— “Famine sleeps under the basket used for grain.”

The people of Malawi, Africa know famine, poverty, and death, all too well. The years 2002, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2013 have all brought life-ending food shortages to the region. Life expectancy is only 50 years and over half the nation lives on 90 cents per day.

With famine playing a devastating role in the lives of Malawians, a cultural eating hierarchy has ensued. The man of the house eats first,

 Malawian Child Suffers from Severe Acute Malnutrition - Hours Before Death
Malawian Child Suffers from Severe Acute Malnutrition – Hours Before Death

then the eldest sons, the mother, and, finally, the children. The men of the house and eldest sons are seen to play the most invaluable roles in a family, as they are the ones who, through farming and other means, provide the little they can for their family. However, for mothers with young, dependent children, survival of the fittest is  commonplace. Often, mothers with limited resources are left to choose which children will receive food, and which children will suffer and starve. It is no wonder that almost half of children under the age of 5 in Malawi suffer from chronic malnourishment.

More and more children are being affected daily from this gross reality, and food shortages are driving prices up to a point where simply having enough food to eat is quite literally, unaffordable. Malawi’s staple crop, corn maize, normally sells in bags of 50 kilos for around 3500 Kwatcha ($10 US), and will feed a family of 4 for a month. From May 2013-August 2013 the price spiked to 7500 Kwatcha per bag—a number so outrageous that, villagers could not afford to buy maize. Villagers do not have any method by which to travel to areas with better prices, and are faced with the difficulty of finding the money to pay, or starve to death, which many do. “Hoarding” has become a common occurrence. Malawian’s with some means, upon realizing that May 2013 was a poor harvest season, have purchased the available corn maize at the 3500mk – 4500mk price and are waiting until the prices rise exponentially before selling to the privileged few, further fueling the shortage. By November of 2013, one 50kg bag of corn maize is expected to sell at 14,000-17,500 Kwatcha ($40 US to $50 US)—a price virtually no one in Malawi can afford. At this very moment, the majority of rural village people in Malawi cannot afford food, and will not be able to until June 2014.

The combined impact of drought, poor crops, hoarding, and food price-gouging, the prospect of merely having enough food to eat is out of control. PB+J Foods, Inc., a small, private, non-profit organization based in Laguna Niguel, California, is dedicated to fighting

Malawian Child in Nkhoma Hospital with Mother
Malawian Child in Nkhoma Hospital with Mother

malnutrition in Malawi with a fortified peanut butter paste is, however, slowly yet diligently chipping away at the problem. In just one year, PB+J Foods programs saved the lives of nearly 1,200 children in Malawi. In a year of severe famine that will take too many lives too soon, PB+J is reaching out to people across the country to help the thousands of children who will face certain death without help.

To learn more about the amazing work being done by PB+J Foods and its amazing volunteers and to help by making a donation, volunteering, or serving in Malawi please visit www.pbjfoods.org/animation.

 

 

 

 

 

Malawian Mother Holding Young Child with Look of Love and Hope
Malawian Mother Holding Young Child with Look of Love and Hope

 

 

 

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Malawi – “The Land Far Away”

 

By Stan Smith, CEO of PB+J Foods, Inc.

 

Many of my granddaughters’ favorite bedtime stories start with “Once upon a time in a land far way”… well, I can tell you about a “land far away” that has become my reality—Malawi, Africa.  Malawi is half way around the world. A person cannot go any further from Laguna Niguel, California to serve the Lord, yet that is where I found myself in 2007. I quickly realized this was not a one and done trip.

Story #2 - Photo to Accompany Malaway, the Land Far Away
Stan Smith, the co-founder and CEO of PB+J Foods, during a recent humanitarian visit to Malawi, Africa embraces a six year old child who is suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). The unusual small size of the child is one of the many devastating effects of SAM.

It was during one of these trips that the Lord grabbed my heart for the children who, solely based on circumstance of birth location, would die of Severe Acute Malnutrition SAM. In 2010, after working for years with other non-profits and humanitarian organizations in Malawi, it happened. My heart was pierced.  My mission buddy, Mark Meintel, and I were driving through the remote villages of Nkhoma, Malawi; I saw a little boy kicking a home made soccer ball (plastic bags tied into a ball) I wanted to give him a real soccer ball in exchange for his “real” African ball. So we stopped, and I took off after him around the huts. When I reached his mud hut, mom was cooking over an open fire, dad was cutting weeds in the field and the little guy was just trying to have fun kicking his ball.  Then—I saw her. She was lying on the house’s mud porch, covered in a blanket up to her chin, she was sweating, lifeless…silent. I got the story through our translator. The girl was 5 years old had Malaria, and was about to die. I prayed for her with her folks, and then went on my way. The next day, as we passed those same huts, I discovered that she had died early that morning. I could not get her out of my mind, and frankly still can’t.

Later that day I was at the Nkhoma Hospital NRU (Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit), and I saw a little boy in the arms of his mother, he was wasting away from Severe Acute Malnutrition. His mother was hopeful and faithful that something could be done; she had carried her little boy for 11 miles to try to get help. I held him and again prayed for the boy and his mother. He died two hours later. WHY, WHY, WHY were these children put along my path in life?

To this very day, I feel sorrow inside for not taking the little girl with us back to the hospital. I know logically that her fate was already sealed, but, in my mind, I did not do everything I could to help her. The loss of the little boy the next day compounded that sorrow tenfold.  What can I do—I am just one man? Well, I knew one thing for sure—if I chose to do nothing, then shame on me.

Organizations I was working with at the time started an “End Malaria Deaths Campaign”, and Malaria nets were provided to all the families. We sprayed 17,000 huts twice a year and the Malaria rates were dropping significantly. During our review of the programs in March of 2012 we were reviewing deaths from Malaria when it was stated, as if a rule, that “children under 5 will all die of Malaria”. Why? Because they are so malnourished their little bodies cannot fight off Malaria. I thought to myself, we need to improve their nutrition so that they can survive a bout of Malaria. It is a fact that everyone will get Malaria in Malawi sometime during his or her life.  So how do we improve nutrition?  Chiponde – RUTF peanut paste was the answer, but how could they afford it? They could not! So why not make our own? That statement from Dr. Terharr flipped my switch to ON. That was the answer. That was my response to the reality of death that had struck me to the core not once, but twice. Thus, PB+J Foods, Inc. was born. Today, and every day for the rest of your life, YOU have the opportunity to make this “land far away” your home as well. Join me in Malawi!  Please visit www.pbjfoods.org/animation

 

 

 

 

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