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June 18, 2007

Kufunda Herb and Nutrition Workshop

Kufunda hosted a four-day Herbal growing/processing and Holistic nutrition workshop for the five communities that they work with. The participants spent two days learning about nutrition, analyzing the current typical diet (mostly filled with sadza--boiled maize meal, with low nutritional value) and considering the abundance and diversity of fruits and vegetables available
that could be used to make a healthy meal. They also learned about local herbs that could be used to spice up the dishes!

Here are photos of the class learning to make fruit salad--it was a lot of fun as you can see, and a great way to encourage healthy snacks!

At each meal, the workshop organizers introduced new foods and ideas for food combining. It's pretty unusual for Zimbabweans to eat more veggies than starches, but by the end of the week many participants commented with surprise that they felt great and really enjoyed the "strange" foods, which were actually made of the locally available foods that they usually see, but just prepared in new recipes.

For the other two days the participants learned about growing herbs and then processing them into medicines. Much of this knowledge was actually the traditional techniques that people's grandparents used but that has been lost with the temptation, availability and pressure to use modern Western medicine.

Participants shared some of the ailments that are affecting their communities, and many were surprised that the same diseases affect neighboring communities. Discussing illnesses are often socially unacceptable topics, but the atmosphere at Kufunda is very nurturing and safe, and people opened up to share their issues. Then together they could learn about and practice some of the herbal remedies for many of the ailments.

The original intention of the Herb/Herbal Processing Team at Kufunda was to grow immune boosting herbs for HIV/AIDS patients, but their work has grown to include other common ailments like diarrhea, coughs, skin issues and general health. They are even beginning to sell their products in stores around Harare!

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