It all began in 2018 when three Salem chefs prepared for the Battle of the Lasagna Chefs.  On Sunday, February 4th, after the worship service, the congregation got a taste of each lasagna, and placed votes for which one they thought was best. Of course, all of this is great fun, but the real reason for the contest was to raise money for Medical Missionaries in Haiti. Besides voting for their favorite lasagna, we also collected donations. This money was used to support the salary of a local Haitian man who has been an invaluable worker in the clinic. We were able to collect enough in donations to sponsor his meager salary of $70.00 per month for up to a year.  Pastor Paola travelled to Haiti with our donations for the following desperately needed products for the clinic: Ibuprofen, Liquid Children’s Tylenol, Neosporin and medium sized medical gloves.

View the video below for more information on the malnutrition program:
 
 
Fast forward to February 2019:   A CHILI COOK-OFF!
 
Sunday, February 3 –  With the historic artic cold settling over Wisconsin in January, nothing could be better than a Chili Cook-Off to warm our souls.  Following worship, Salem held a competition and fundraiser to see which of our 3 Salem chefs made the yummiest chili!  The proceeds will be used to support the salary for the director of the malnutrition program at the Medical Missionaries Program in Thomassique, Haiti. 
 

Medical Missionaries’ Medika Mamba Program, which began in 2008, works to fight acute childhood malnutrition in Haiti by providing a nutritional supplement that can restore the health of malnourished children over a course of 4 to 6 weeks.

Medical Missionaries weighing malnourished child in HaitiThese supplements are easy to use and inexpensive (it only costs $100 to restore the health of a child over the course of their enrollment) and can help children thrive during the early years of their development. 

Why is this program critically important? Severe malnutrition is a major cause of childhood deaths in Haiti. According to Meds & Food for Kids (the producer of Medika Mamba), 1 in 5 children in Haiti are malnourished, and 1 in 14 will die before reaching the age of 5.  Many children in Haiti have only one meal each day, some less. The effects of chronic and acute malnutrition are life-long, not only making children more susceptible to contracting diseases and increasing the probability of childhood death, but also resulting in reduced physical and mental development for a person’s entire life.   

In the Thomassique area, malnourished children are identified at the Clinic, during mobile clinics or home visits. Once children are enrolled in the program, their progress is evaluated each week. 

Wilner Ossè, the Assistant Director for the Medika Mamba Program, works closely with both the Clinic staff and the families of malnourished children. He also attends mobile clinics in the villages every week in order to screen children for malnutrition and provide health education for families awaiting consultation.

Making home visits provides a crucial opportunity to not only check on patients’ progress but also to evaluate the home for safety, utilization of a safe water treatment system, good sanitation, and food availability. Wilner conducts all the home visits for patients living in town, and assigns home visits to Community Health Workers in their respective remote villages.

Medical Missionaries’ Medika Mamba Program, along with the Maternal and Infant Care Program, Vaccination Program, and School Lunch Program, all work towards improving the well-being of Haiti’s next generations and giving them the possibility of a healthier and brighter future.
 
One challenge that has arisen in the past few months is a shortage of peanut butter-based nutrition packets or “Medika Mamba” that are provided to every malnourished child in the program, as there is a lack of consistent supply from the Haitian Ministry of Health. Other clinics have resorted to setting up their own fundraising pages to buy their own reserve supply for when the Ministry of Health is unable to provide Medika Mamba. Medical Missionaries has followed suit and set up a separate fundraising page just for this cause. Each box of Medika Mamba costs $70 plus transportation expenses and will provide enough lifesaving packets to treat 5 patients for 1 month. If you feel called to support this pressing need, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/medikamamba.