Rice Bowls for Catholic Relief Services Change Lives

Posted in: Social Justice
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Rice Bowls are available for pick up in the narthex. Please consider them as tools to help you encounter Lent in yourself, with your neighbors throughout the world, and with your God.

During the second week of Lent, we encounter the work CRS does in Zambia.

Encounter Evelina.

Evelina Banda, like generations of Zambians before her, used to survive on meals made from corn flour, usually a porridge called “nshima.” “Growing up, I’d eat porridge in the morning, at lunchtime and again in the evening,” she says. After all, it was cheap and easy to make.

Unfortunately, nshima has very little nutritional value—and relying too heavily on it has led to high rates of malnutrition. Many in Zambia have full bellies, but little nourishment. And this is particularly dangerous for children under the age of two, who need high levels of vitamins and minerals to grow up healthy and strong. That means mothers who are nursing—as well as their children—need nutritious meals.

So, CRS is teaching women like Evelina how to prepare healthier meals and grow new, vitamin-rich crops like peanuts, pumpkins and sugar cane. In many cases, these crops were already being grown in the village. Now, Evelina and others are adding more nutritious food to their children’s nshima: ground peanuts or eggs, for example. And, what the women learn, they share with their community—especially expectant mothers.

“We sing and dance during the cooking lessons because we are happy to learn how to cook different types of food,” says Evelina. Evelina is healthier, and so is her son, Steven. “I know I am taking good care of him, because he’s full of energy, he’s strong and never sick,” she says, with a smile.

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