My name is Rose Jose and I am 38 years old. I live with my husband David Tomas Sotala, who is 40 years old, and we have 7 children together — 3 girls and 4 boys.
I brought up my first six children with a lot of difficulties when I compare to my last born and now I understand the reason. All we knew here was traditional medicine and we used local, traditional healers. I never understood the power behind good nutrition until my husband volunteered to be a nutrition promoter in our Simbe community about 2 years ago
Two years ago, our local chief announced that a team from the Anglican Church were looking for some volunteers to train on nutrition with a specific focus on children under two years and pregnant women who later would dedicate in assisting our community. My husband and I thought on the issue and we agreed I should be the one going for it. We thought back to those years when our first-born Jaime David was born 19 years ago, how we suffered from pregnancy to bringing him up, depending on our grandmothers’ traditional medicine. We thought of (our daughter) Catarina David, who is now 16 years old, how she almost died from diarrhea; we believed some neighbors had bewitched her, but we thanked God she survived. We thought of (our other children) Leonardo Jose, nine years old now, Jose David, six years old now, Fatima David, who is four years old now, and Alberto Jose, who is 3 years old now, all of whom we delivered at home with no help of a nurse. We suffered a lot when bringing them up. They had never received any vaccines before this program started; we used to ignore a lot and only believed in traditional medicines.
So when we were explained by the chief the objectives of the nutrition program, we never hesitated. I gave my name immediately and my husband agreed.
But things changed when we were about to go for the first training, which was to last five days and which I was to walk to in Tengua, 12 km away. I was in 5 or 6 months of pregnancy and not feeling well that week, so I asked my husband to participate. David said yes and promised to teach me all he would receive.
The first thing David did when he came back was to accompany me to the health post to start antenatal care for my pregnancy. He accompanied me for all the visits each month, which really made me feel happy and made our neighbors become curious! When they visited us or whenever we visited them, we took advantage to teach them more about nutrition.
Angelina David was born in March 2017 and we have never taken her to a traditional healer. After my husband started his volunteer work, he made sure I ate nutritious food, which he explained was for my good and the unborn child. Angelina was born at Simbe Health Post without any difficulties and we visited a postnatal clinic every month.
Because of my husband’s dedication, I have learned how to prepare enriched porridge that I prepare for all my kids as well as teaching other neighbors.
David travels twice a week to Tengua Health Post, where he assists weighing babies and pregnant women, as well as teaching, He is proud of what he does and I am proud too of taking care of my children and assisting my neighborhood on nutrition issues. Mothers here now value antenatal and postnatal clinics because of my testimony and just by seeing my daughter Angelina and how well she is growing.