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To: Board of Directors of Friends of Honduran Children

From: Thiffya Thiagalingam and Ashley Weir, Trent University RN students


Re: ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN OF NUTRITION IN NUEVO PARAISO
Date: November 18th, 2015
Background
We are Trent University nursing students, who participated in the October 2015 brigade
with FOHC from Oct 22 to Nov 1 for our community health nursing placement.
We would like to share with you information we obtained from our environmental scan of
the nutritional status of the children in Nuevo Paraso.
The information was gathered through observation and through discussion with Mae
Valenzuela, the Social Ambassador of FOHC.
Environmental Scan Questions
Questions related to tas/kitchen staff
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How much is spent on food weekly?


Who purchases food for the children?
What are typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals?
Does everyone eat together?
How much do the children eat?
Where is the food purchased? What is located nearby?
What are the typical mealtimes?

Questions related to children


1. What are their favourite foods?
2. What are their favourite treats?
3. Do the children have a chance to buy food for themselves? How often? What do they
buy and where?
Additional considerations
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Why were children not engaged in the garden project previously?


What strategies could address issues that arose?
What vegetables would community members like to grow?
What are the conditions for gardening? (soil, weather)

Discussion
Food budget and purchasing
We were not able to receive an estimate of how much was spent on food each week.
A woman in the community is responsible for grocery shopping every Friday.
Fruits, vegetables, and eggs are purchased at a farmers market in Tegucigalpa.
Meats and dairy products are ordered from a butcher shop.
Powdered milk and bread is purchased in a local store (the pulpera).

Weekly menu and mealtimes


Weekday breakfast foods include: eggs, beans, tortilla, coffee with milk, cheese, and
butter.
Weekend breakfast consists of cereal and pancakes.
Lunch foods include: rice, chicken, vegetables, and a fruit drink.
Dinner foods include: ripe plantains with butter, cheese tortillas with rice, rice and beans,
sausages and eggs, and fruit.
Breakfast is at 6:00 am and dinner is at 5:30 pm. The children take a snack for school,
and eat lunch when they return home.
The children eat together in their homes, but the teenagers may arrive later and eat
whenever they arrive.
Childrens favourite foods
Favourite foods among the children are: breaded fried chicken, French fries, Chinese
rice, and pizza.
Favourite treats among the children are cake and ice cream.
Some children have some money from their parents to buy food at the convenience
store.
With regards to pop and chips, Mae stated they eat these things more than I would like
them to.
Past successes and failures of the community garden
Last year, the man who drove the children around, was in charge of the community
garden. He grew beans and corn of his own, and was familiar with gardening. The
children were engaged in the community garden and helped out while this uncle was in
charge. However, when this man was fired, possibly for financial reasons, the children
lost their interest in maintaining the garden.
Vegetables grown in the past include: cucumber, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, cilantro,
carrot, onion, and pepper.
Gardening conditions and impact on food available
The soil at Nuevo Paraso becomes quite clay-like due to rainy conditions, and is not
suitable for gardening.
The dry season usually lasts from December to April. However, the past year, it did not
begin to rain until September, making it very difficult to maintain the garden.
In place of the vegetables obtained from the garden, the community at Nuevo Paraso
was able to get vegetables from the farmers market all year round.
Gardening interest among the community in Nuevo Paraso
Mae shared that approximately 7 children aged 10 to 12 years would be interested in reimplementing the community gardening project.
Our Trent University nursing group distributed pots, soil, and seeds (cilantro, tomatoes,
and beets) to the 13 houses in Nuevo Paraso to begin small-scale gardening.
As a first step, the Tas requested to have individual gardens in their homes to more
easily maintain the garden.

The social aspect of community gardening is very important to the childrens interests in
maintaining the community garden. Mae believes that having someone in charge again
would spark interest among the children again.

Recommendations
Health teaching on the prevention of diabetes and hypertension should be continued
with the community in Nuevo Paraiso, as members prefer consuming unhealthy options
over healthy options when available.
Target areas for health teaching may include: habits of adding excess sugar to teas,
coffees, fruit juices, and the like, as well as adding excess salt to cooked meals.
Constant monitoring of community needs for gardening: new soil, larger pots, and
additional seeds that are preferred
Follow up with the Tias in the 13 homes to determine the successes and failures of the
gardening initiative
Reassess the interest in a community gardening project
Consider the feasibility of hiring an individual or giving gardening responsibility to some
of the older children/ teenagers to enhance community gardening sustainability
Offer the transition home boys the option to start their own garden, as they were not
included in the initial Trent University vegetable seed/ pot distribution.
Explore the option of implementing a school food program to supplement the daily food
available to children
Increase transparency of how the annual sponsorship money (per child, and total
available to community) is distributed among food and other uses. This information can
be available to interested and current donors, as well as future brigades so they can
better assess community needs.
Increase transparency of the stakeholders involved in deciding how sponsorship money
is distributed among food and other uses. Future brigades can use this information to
offer recommendations.
Final Remarks
We hope that you will find this information helpful for future brigades that focus on
improving the nutritional status of the children in Nuevo Paraso.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this report or our health teaching
initiatives
Thank you for reading, and for your consideration of our recommendations.
Sincerely,
Thiffya Thiagalingam and Ashley Weir
Trent University RN students