In Madagascar people eat a lot of rice. Given the chance most Malagasy people would eat rice 3 times a day, but in reality many people struggle to afford a single bowl. How heavenly it would be then if in Madagascar it was raining rice! However this story is about rain in rice!
In a country where rice is so important, its not surprising that there is a hierarchy of rice dishes with ‘vary soa’ or wet rice ranking near the bottom. Like runny porridge it is appreciated by early risers and those with few teeth, but is not fuel enough for your average Malagasy labourer.
When Bernard & Marie from Dublin were volunteering at one of our projects in the village of Ambohidratrimo they stumbled across a new sort of wet rice. Sitting outside on the bare earth were malnourished children eating rice in the rain. This was the improvised feeding centre at Convent Hasina where, with next to no facilities, a small group of nuns were trying to provide some basic nutrition to the poorest children of the village. The nuns shared with the Irish couple their vision to build a small facility where they could serve meals to the poor in a dry and dignified way.
On return to Dublin, Bernard and Marie launched into fundraising immediately. With help from their Anglican community at Castleknock and Clonsilla with Mulhuddart they soon raised the €2000 needed for the building. MfM agreed to adopt the project and supervise the construction of the building, which was completed before the next rainy season set in.
|Bernard and the nuns dig foundations of the feeding centre.|
|The feeding centre is complete|
|Preparing food in the new kitchen|
|Enjoying 'dry' rice and vegetables|
The Convent Hasina feeding centre is now up and running, providing a clean and welcoming refuge where children enjoy warm, nutritious meals.