Viva Vita Mamba
Gazing across the landscape from Academie La Saline it is easy to guess where this elementary school’s name came from. “Academie La Saline”, is named for the salt flats surrounding the area of Jubilee and much of Western Haiti. Even when straining your eyes in every direction it is difficult to catch even a glimmer of green. This difficult environment makes growing conditions challenging, meaning this area is often plagued with low yielding agricultural lands increasing their already highly volatile susceptibility to food shortages.
The children at Academie La Saline live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the region, where the majority of the students go to school without breakfast and many will not eat anything until they go home in the afternoon. They will go home to no running water and they go to sleep without a nightlight. At first glance, these homes without even the most basic infrastructures seem like a hopeless place to grow up. However, one step inside the school can leave visitors with another impression. The contrast between the school outer appearance and the bright faces of the children inside serve as a constant reminder of the hope in the future present in Haiti.
The school is provided with little support from the government and parents are too impoverished to afford tuition. Nevertheless, because of generous donations these students have the chance to a better future where education plays a major role. Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) is proud to assist with the process of shaping these bright minds by giving the students what they need to be able to grow, concentrate and thrive in school. Since early April of this year, MFK has been able to provide Vita Mamba to the Academie La Saline, situated in Gonaïves which is three hours away from Cap-Haitien, where MFK’s factory is located. Every morning, all the teachers have the responsibility of distributing one sachet of Vita Mamba to each child before they start the curriculum for the day.
Vita Mamba was developed specifically for school age children to give them that extra boost to be able to focus in school and be better equipped to reach their full potential. At the same time, it helps address micronutrient deficiencies that stunt physically and cognitive development in children. Vita Mamba is a peanut and soy based paste containing 260 kcal which provides a specific mix of vitamins and minerals that are typically lacking in the diets of Haitian children such as iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine. In a country like Haiti where 1 in 5 children are chronically malnourished, MFK wanted to address this issue and with Vita Mamba we are able to bridge the nutritional gap these students face.
Though it is easy to gaze over the salt flats of Jubilee and see nothing but desolation, here at MFK we look just a little closer to find the future of Haiti, and give them the nutritional aid they need to flourish.