Cooking for Health
Bet is a 22-year-old mother of one, living in a remote northern region of Cambodia. She and her husband moved to this part of Cambodia about a year ago to have a house close to the road. Bet’s husband is a small engine mechanic and they are hoping that they will be able build up a good business here, as the province continues to grow and develop. So far things have been slow. With no farmland, they are not able to grow much food and are dependent on the income they can make from the repair work that comes their way. Bet’s three-year-old girl keeps her busy, especially lately.
Her daughter used to be quite pale and lethargic, often sick with diarrhea or colds. Recently all of that has changed. Here is what happened, as told by Bet.
“I first heard about ADRA when one of the ADRA staff came to visit me in my home. She invited me to join a women’s group that ADRA was forming in my village. She told me that they would be discussing many topics about family life, health and nutrition. It sounded very interesting to me. I am always eager to learn! I have a young daughter and I want to learn everything I can about how I can be a better mother. I want to have a good life for myself and my family.
The Reflect Circle
I have learned a lot of things at the ADRA group. They call it a “Reflect Circle” group which is a good name I think, because all of us who have joined have had a chance to reflect on our lives, and what we can do to change things for the better. When we first started, most of us were quite shy and were afraid to speak up but by the third session we were all participating in the discussions and asking a lot of questions.
We have been attending now for only about six months but already we have had many discussions on how to raise children, how to protect them from disease, and keep them safe. We have learned about the importance of good hygiene around the home and why we need to wash hands before cooking and eating.
We have also learned a lot about good nutrition. Before, I used to cook a lot of salty foods for my family and I used a lot of MSG. In the ADRA Reflect Circle, we have learned that this diet is not good for our health, especially for my little girl. Now when I cook, I use a lot of vegetables and greens. I do my best to include something from each of the three main food groups that are important for good health. I no longer use much salt and have completely stopped using MSG. I used to cook for taste, now I cook for good health!
Before joining the program my baby girl was pale and skinny, not very active. She used to get sick a lot. Since I started cooking nutritious meals, her appetite has gotten better. She has gained weight and is now brighter and happier! She hardly ever gets sick anymore!
I am very happy that the ADRA program has come to our village. It doesn’t matter how busy I am, whenever the group is meeting I drop everything and join the group. I believe that the Reflect Circle has helped all of us get to know each other better and has given us a chance to encourage each other to be better mothers.
Thank you ADRA!”