Jacelyn, age 27, is from Nicaragua’s rural “dry corridor” — specifically, Puerto Morazan. As the name suggests, Puerto Morazan is a region in the northwest that experiences very low rainfall and extremely high temperatures. The community is very rural, leaving women like Jacelyn no choice but to walk long distances to receive medical care, or in Jacelyn’s case, prenatal care.
Jacelyn is pregnant with her third child and currently lives full time at a maternal home at the Tonala Health Care Center in the city’s capitol, while her other two children live with her husband in Puerto Morazan. The distance from Jacelyn’s hometown to Tonala is a long walk in the heat, made even more difficult by her growing baby. Jacelyn decided to make the journey to live at the maternal home with the knowledge of how important prenatal care would be — particularly since her first child was born underweight due to a lack of nutrition.
The rate of home births in Nicaragua is very high, as is the rate of infant mortality. Now that the maternal home at the Tonala Health Care Center can guarantee they will have nutritious meals to feed women like Jacelyn through the duration of their stay, this will encourage more women to come to the home and birth their children in a safe and secure place. Jacelyn said,
I feel good knowing that I am doing everything I can to promote the health of my baby.
Women at the maternal home receive Rise Against Hunger meals through a partnership with Global Links, and are educated by staff members on proper nutrition. Dr. Cruz, the director of the Tonala Health Care Center, shares that many women come to the maternal home hungry and worried that they will arrive to a low or non-existent food supply. Some women are so worried that they will not have access to food after making the long walk to the maternal homes that they avoid going altogether.
Ms. Gonzalez has worked with Global Links for over 30 years and explains that Rise Against Hunger meals are occasionally foreign to women in countries like Nicaragua. When Jacelyn arrived, she thought that the food was strange and very different from the rice used to make her favorite traditional dish, gallo pinto, which is a version of rice and beans.
Due to these differences, staff members prepare the meals in unique ways and even have recipe books to align with cultural favorites.
“When the rice is integrated into a meal they are accustomed to eating, they are much more receptive to the Rise Against Hunger meals,” said Ms. Gonzalez.
Not only are the Rise Against Hunger meals helping women at the maternal home ensure proper nutrition, but the meals bring the women together around the table where they enjoy talking and learning about each other’s lives.