Matafome means “kill hunger” and that’s exactly what the enhanced maize, soya and sugar mix called CSB does. It also encourages children to school as they get fed and helps with concentration and intellectual growth as well as physical growth. For a relatively small amount of money, £50 per child per year, each of the 1,000 children in the 5 schools we support gets a meal every school day and additional support for the schools to become more self-sufficient with school farms and income generating opportunities.
Last year the factory where the CSB is made was shut to rebuild the production line. Whilst my predecessor had stocked up as much as possible given our storage conditions we had no matafome for the second term of last year. After extensive research on the world’s worst internet connection I determined that JAM, our suppliers, were the only suppliers of this kind of food in-country and import fees are such that the costs of getting food from other countries is prohibitive.
So, for the third term of last year we bought enhanced maize and pigeon pea, a highly nutritious bean. Sadly, as it was locally purchased and therefore a great alternative, it was not popular as the cooking process was a bit more complicated and although the children got fed and were very happy, the food was complained about by some of the schools.
This year the JAM factory has reopened and we managed to get ourselves to number 2 on their priority list. Of course, TIA and nothing is going to be simple. We had an agreement to have the matafome delivered in Jan ready for the new term, we paid and were waiting for our delivery. As the truck was prepared in Beira (3 days drive way) the rains began. The rains washed away a bridge on the EN1 cutting off the northern 3 provinces. So, no power, no phone signal, no supplies and no way for the truck with the matafome to get through. Is that what they call an “act of God”?? They call it Inshallah here!
Eventually the bridge is repaired and the truck sets off. Of course this story would not be complete without a truck break down. Luckily (??) it happened close to Beira and the JAM factory. Sadly in true Mozambican style the communications were poor, and we were quite unaware of the breakdown whilst merrily preparing plans to distribute matafome, and a nice plate of food for the driver and his assistant at the lodge.
A few weeks later the truck arrives in Mucojo and this is what happens to it there:
Even though we have our donor Laura Tenison here to visit and of course other plans with her, she got to see first-hand the normal daily routine of faff and changing plans for Nema staff. Having to do 5 runs to Mucojo to fetch 6 tonnes of food kept the car and the team (on their Sunday off) busy for the whole day and we decided that it would be more cost effective to distribute matafome to the schools on the way then try to do it another day, it also means that the children start eating sooner.
So, we distributed to Lumuama, Guludo and Ningaia on the same day:
And now the children get to eat every day and go to school and all for £50 per child per year.