An Egg a Day - A life line for families living in poverty and fighting malnutrition: by Simiso

In a world where malnutrition kills more than 3.1 million children per year according to statistics, the intervention of one egg per day to impoverished households has become a life saver. In Zimbabwe the cost of living is too high made even worse by a poor economic situation. The reality on the ground is that most families are living in abject poverty and hunger. This has led to many children being malnourished. Against this background the provision of eggs to such economically challenged families is Godsend and a blessing.

0n the 19th of February 2019 I met up with five representatives at Baptist church who had come for their weekly supply of eggs from their programme facilitator Florence Mapfumo. Nothing could disguise the beaming smiles, humility and an element of gratitude that was present as they sat down with me to share their thoughts, experiences and views.

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In one of our conversations I talked to Agnes Ncube a widow who stays in Matshobana surburb in Bulawayo. She is 66 years old and has under her care five orphaned grandchildren. She has no financial help and is struggling to provide for her family. Her husband died in 2005 living her alone to take care of their grandchildren. Due to the fact that she is advanced in years she is no loner able to fend for her family. She has outstanding debts at the schools where her grandchildren attend as she can not afford to pay their school fees. She needs a total of almost $350 per term to pay for the school fees. She survives on food donations from well wishers for them to eat still they living in hunger. She is grateful for the eggs that she

receives for her family as they help in alleviating malnutrition for her grandchildren some who are under antiretroviral treatment.

Another case is that of Annie Nkomo who is 41years. She stays in Trenance. She takes weekly egg supplies for 5 families including hers. She says eggs help nutrition and hair regrowth for children in antiretroviral treatment. At one time she says the eggs once helped her when her son accidentally got burnt and she used to apply the eggs on the wound and the wound healed . Her son Allen Netha is a school dropout since she can not afford to pay fees as she is unemployed and her husband is bed ridden. She is grateful for the eggs she receives as it eases the hunger challenges they face.

I also met with Sifiso Moyo one of the benefactors of the egg intervention programme. She is a single mother aged 37 years who lives in a shelter for homeless single mothers in Hillside surburb with her daughter aged 9 years. She is unemployed and struggles to pay fees and provide food, uniforms and stationery for her daughter. She is on antiretroviral treatment . she did a preschool diploma but has not collected her certificate of completion as she owes the college $200 in fees. She did a course in early child development, sign language and braille. She hopes to get funding for the education of her girl child and according to the school reports she showed us of her child Lerato is doing exceptionally well at school. She needs $80 for her fees. Sifiso is grateful for the eggs she receives they are nutritious and she say at least her child has something to eat when she goes to school. For the time being she relies on well-wishers for the upkeep of her daughter.

I also had a converstion with Susan Temba who lives in Mazwi in St Peters. She receives egg supplies for 4 families including hers. She is so grateful for the this provision of eggs. She says one of her grandchilgren was malnourished and was under weight but since she started giving him eggs everyday he has gained weight. She says they eat eggs as a relish or they sometimes infuse it in their porridge when cooking. She says in one of the families that she represents there is a woman who is disabled and has 7 disabled children and they all need nutritious food . Due to their disability they cannot fend for themselves. She also added that in another family that she collects eggs for the woman is a psychological patient who has a son named Trovers who is epileptic. She says they have a challenge when it comes to

Trovers. He is a 7 year old boy and because he has no access to his epileptic medication he fails to function well at school. When he goes to school he eats his poop and that of others . so they have been tasked by the school to find a children’s shelter or orphanage for Trovers as his grandmother cannot take care of him since she is also a mental patient. However dispite all these challenges that they face they are gratefull to be able to receive eggs as they now have something to eat on a daily basis.