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Monte Sinai, Bolivia
Carmella is a young mother (age 20) of two beautiful children, Ariel (age 1) and Alexandro Cornalo (age 3).
Carmella moved to Monte Sinai with her parents at the age of nine in search of land and a better life. She tells us that she only attended school through the 4th grade. She explains that usually when women become of child bearing age they discontinue school attendance and begin a family.
While Carmella spends her days caring for her children and her home, her husband works outside of the community farming and hunting. The rainy season is very long in Bolivia which poses a problem for crop yields. Work for her husband is not steady and the over-soaked earth is not conducive to growing vegetables for the family’s own consumption. She tells us only corn and rice grow with any consistency. She says that the family’s diet consists mostly of rice and yucca, that more diverse, nutritious foods just aren’t available to her, since she can’t grow them herself and they don’t have the means to purchase much food. When asked what vegetables they could eat to promote health, she said she did not know. Carmella tells us that her children’s health is of great concern to her; she worries daily about having enough to feed them and about how often they get sick.
Vitamin Angels visited Carmella’s community, Monte Sinai, with field partners, World Concern to distribute vitamin A to the children which will boost their immune systems and supplement their nutrient deficient diets. In addition, an educational session accompanied by informational posters on the sources and benefits of vitamin A, and the symptoms and sources of parasites was given to the whole community.
For Carmella, the greatest joy was seeing her children born, and for us it was a great honor to meet her family and have the opportunity to give her children the chance of a healthy life.
Our thanks to Marcia Furst and Tom Schott of the Vitamin Shoppe for capturing this story while on a trip with Vitamin Angels.