We spent an invigorating week in July teaching kindergartners through 5th-graders all about moringa – it was totally fun!! Rick and I were the missionaries at Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Mt. Scott Church of God, in Portland, Oregon. The kids were incredibly insightful as we discussed tough topics – poverty, malnutrition, unsafe drinking water and lack of economic opportunities. You might think that these topics are too complex for kids, but they were so engaged, it was amazing.
As we talked about, and showed pictures of, the La Chureca village inside the Managua city dump, the kids saw beyond the families’ poverty to their assets and strengths. Commenting on a photo of a house in the dump that was cobbled together with pieces of cardboard, plastic, wood and metal, one boy said, “They are very resourceful!”, and another added, “And creative!” We were amazed at the kids’ ability to see beyond the extreme lack and find the people’s strengths.
Each day we talked about a particular topic and how growing and using moringa can bring about positive change:
- Malnutrition → Eating the leaves brings health through good nutrition.
- Unsafe water → Treating dirty water with crushed moringa seeds drastically reduces water-borne illnesses.
- Lack of economic opportunity → Selling fresh leaves, dried leaf powder, seeds, seed powder, oil, and saplings brings additional income that families can use for food, clothing, shoes, medicine, school fees and much more.
- Poverty → Using moringa can help lift families out of poverty!
While we focused on our work in Nicaragua, the kids saw other applications around the world. One girl commented that moringa would grow well in South Sudan, where people need it!
Throughout the week the kids earned money at home, and between them and their parents, they raised over $1,000 for SHI’s peer educator training in Nicaragua! What an incredible blessing for the children who live in the dump in Managua that kids here in Portland care enough to help them have good food, clean water and economic opportunities.
Our week at VBS was not only a great learning experience for the kids, but it was an eye-opener for us as we witnessed the intelligence, insight and energy of the next generation!