This is Linet. Linet is the nutritionist at the Hospital here in Savusavu. And she is amazing!! Yesterday I was in meetings with different head doctors at the hospital, and then the physiotherapist where we chatted about the current needs of the hospital and where our volunteers and interns can fit into that. I was told there was a nutritionist, and knowing that I, as well as one of my volunteers is interested in nutrition, decided to find her. I’d learned that there are nutrition classes on the days that hypertension and diabetes clinics happen at the hospital.
I found Linet sitting at her small corner desk in the cafeteria. When I introduced myself to her and told her my purpose and what brought me to her, her eyes started to tear up. She said, “you have come as an answer to prayer.” I had to do a double take and remember that I’m not a missionary anymore.
We began talking about her needs. She was hesitant at first. We talking about nutritional class, clinics, and presentations, as well as posters and pamphlets that she needs help with to educate people about preventable diseases. Slowly she began opening up to me more about possible things we could do. She told me of a garden she wants to do at a nearby school so that malnourished children have access to fruit for snacks at recess. Getting closer.
Then she said, “well if you’re sure, I do have a bigger project I’ve been trying to do, but can’t get enough help.” Ding ding ding! I was pumped. She then told me of how there used to be a greenhouse at the hospital, but Cyclone Winston destroyed it two years ago and they’ve just never rebuilt, and she now really wants to rebuild and plant a whole garden around it. There was also a compost bin, but now people are using it for garbage. Or as everyone calls it here, rubbish. We began discussing the possibilities, and I’m very excited! We chatted about the sustainability- who would care for it after we’re gone? Would they work on it with us? We talked about where we would get seeds and what can grow here year round that could be used in the cafeteria. The purpose is to grow fruits and vegetables that will be used in cooking for those patients staying at the hospital. We went and surveyed the land that needs to be cleared and turned where rows can be planted.
The picture above is of Linet showing me this tree on hospital grounds called a Soursop. She read that its leaves and fruits can prevent and even treat cancer. And the wonderful thing about the whole thing is that we’re in Fiji! That means we can literally cut a piece off that tree, stick it in the ground and it will grow! So great!
It was interesting to me that what seems like such a simple thing to me, and what we’re here to do, elicited the comment from Linet at the end of our meeting: “you’ve given me hope.” Sometimes in life we just need a helping hand, and someone who believes in us.