Like MANA from heaven

He looks at me, his smile lit up by just one top tooth and two on the bottom. He’s my boy. 

When I look at him, I can’t help but beam. It wasn’t even a year ago when his smile wasn’t so bright.  My name is Ndahambelela and this is our story.

When Beto was sick, he didn’t laugh, and he didn’t play. He cried a lot back then. He was so unwell and thin and had lots of diarrhea. He even stopped taking my breast milk. When I tried to give him food, he didn’t really want that either. I was so worried about him. 

One day, a health worker from World Vision came by, his name was Octavio. He did an assessment and told me that Beto was severely malnourished and very unwell. Angola had been in drought recently - the worst in over 35 years. During the drought, some days we ate porridge and local fruit and some days we didn’t eat at all. 

That day, Beto was given MANA [a peanut-based therapeutic food]. The first day he didn’t want to eat to it, but the next day he ate well. Although the MANA provided immediate help, Beto still urgently needed to go to the hospital, but it was far away, and we didn’t have enough water or food to take on the 2-hour walk. Thankfully, Octavio came again to visit and took both me and Beto to the hospital by car. 

My son recovered and is now one year old. He laughs and he plays, and I don’t worry about him like I used to. He’s my son – I want him to stay healthy. 

Receiving immediate treatment was crucial for Beto’s survival. The first 1,000 days – from conception to a child’s second birthday – is a sensitive time for growth and development. The foundation for their lifelong health is laid during this time. If neglected, there can be long-term negative impacts on a child’s ability to develop, grow and learn. 

“The drought [in Angola] has had a devasting impact on children here,” says Isaias Ricardo, World Vision Angola’s Nutrition Supervisor. “This therapeutic food has made, and continues to make, a huge difference. MANA saves lives and we are so grateful.”

The MANA, donated by Food for Famine through World Vision Canada, has been used to treat 14,496 children struggling with malnutrition.

Thanks to donations like yours, healthy foundations can be laid for children like Beto, so they can grow up happy and healthy.