Living positively with HIV
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CTA. 2007. Living positively with HIV. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/6. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57233
One man?s story of life with the virus
Living positively with HIV Cue: HIV/AIDS is making many farmers look afresh at what they need to grow to provide a healthy diet. It?s certainly happening in Kenya. I?d like to introduce you to a man who is practicing what he preaches. His name is Cephas Kojwang, Co-ordinator for the National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS. He is himself HIV positive and tends a highly productive backyard plot that provides him with a healthy diet. But as he explained to Eric Kadenge, farmers are not just having to recognise the nutritional value of the conventional crops - they are taking a fresh look at wild plants too. Muchicha, otherwise known as Amaranthas, is a common weed in East Africa. But it is a weed with a lot to offer. IN: ?Take for example the? OUT: ?the better for you.? DUR?N: 4?31? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: That was Cephas Kojwang from Kenya. He talked about what he has in his garden ? and how it hopes him to cope with the HIV/AIDS illness. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Kojwang Take for example the plant that you call Muchicha which grows in the wild in people?s farms produces seeds in its maturity. The seeds if they are dried and ground into flour is very, very rich, it can be mixed with a little maize or a little sorghum or use as it is to produce very, very nutritious meal. It is known to boost immunity, it is known to contain more than just the protein you need and the starch you need, it contains much more. All those things that sprout during the rains and are deep green in nature, those greens have more nutritious value. Kadenge You have mentioned a lot about vitamin providing foods how about protein and starches, what are the simple cheap sources of such foods? Kojwang I?ll give you the most common, talking about starch, banana has starch, cassava has starch, potatoes have starch, whatever potato it is, Irish or sweet. You have cassava growing in the most arid parts of this country and you have sweet potatoes growing in highland or lowland areas and Irish potatoes also growing mainly in the highlands, those are very rich sources of starch, maize. At the same time when we are talking about vitamins we encourage that people eat fruit and vegetables that contain a lot of vitamins. People should not look down upon some fruit as being inferior. Take for example the guava - that has a lot of vitamin C. There are wild berries that are edible that you do not need to buy. The lemon tree, the lemon tree grows almost everywhere in the country. Even if you threw a seed behind your backyard it would grow into a tree and produce fruit. The pawpaw plant takes a very short time to grow and papaya is known to be very nutritious. The leaves alone can be used as food, the pulp that we eat as fruit does not just have water it is 80% water but beyond the water it has got quite a lot of minerals in it. Kadenge Give me a few more other foods other than maize that fall into the cereal category that can be eaten to provide carbohydrates? Kojwang The moment you are chewing sugarcane you are actually eating energy. Steer clear of the white maize meal I would rather ask for the brown ugali or what people call black ugali because I know that over and above containing carbohydrates it has iron. My body needs iron to produce red blood cells. Eat your maize but for heavens sake if you have a lot of maize why do you not sell some and also buy sorghum, that mixture makes sense. How about cassava which can grow in literally most parts of the country? Far from the belief that cassava is for the poor, God created cassava with a purpose, it can grow virtually everywhere and there are places where cassava has been cut into pieces and dried and ground into flour. There are people who make cassava chapattis so they do not have to grow wheat. We even have cassava chips, you can do crisps from virtually any of those carbohydrate producing foods like you can have crisps made from bananas and there are types of bananas that are fairly drought tolerant, they are best at making crisps that can be dried and stored and eaten later. Kadenge Do you have a garden and if you do what are some of the crops that you actually grow there and use them on a daily basis? Kojwang I have a garden, I have kales, I have spinach, I have onions and I am lucky that I live in a place which is fast growing, you know fast being populated and being developed but I still have space. So I have a few bananas, I also grow sorghum which does very well. People did not even know what it was when I said I was growing sorghum around Kitangela they were asking me, what are these? Also we have tried maize, the variety that grows in dry areas, the short term maize and so I try my hand at several things. I even tried peanuts. I have pawpaw and I have grafted oranges also. We have one guava plant. The more natural the food stuff that you eat the better for you. End of track.
- CTA Rural Radio