Lusungu And Wanangwa Mweso: A Tale of Resilience, Love and Hope from Lusubilo’s Infant Feeding Program

On the 16th of August 2022, in the heart of a small village called Simon under Traditional Authority Kyungu in Karonga District, two precious twins, Lusungu and Wanangwa Mweso, came into this world under the most challenging circumstances. Born to Lucy Msukwa who tragically lost her life during childbearing, these orphaned siblings faced a daunting journey right from their first breath. The second twin, a tiny fighter, even needed life-saving surgery. It was a tale of immense adversity, but their story was touched by a beacon of hope – the Lusubilo Community Care’s Infant Feeding Program.

The kids were instantly taken care of by their aunt Queen Mweso. Thereafter, Queen heard about the Lusubilo program through community structures and reached out to the Community Based Organisation (CBO) which linked her to the Field Officer for the area Mr Asher Kaseghe. The Officer did not hesitate but escorted her to Lusubilo where she met the nutrition officer who introduced her to the program. She then joined St. Mary’s Shola Centre where she has been receiving the supplies, acquiring the facilitations, emotional support and encouragement on how to take care of the kids.

These twins, their futures uncertain and their health fragile, entered the program just a day after their birth. They were under the loving care of a remarkable team at Lusubilo Community Care, who provided them with the vital resources they needed to survive and thrive. Infant formula (which is an ultra-processed food designed and marketed for feeding babies and infants, usually prepared for bottle feeding or cup feeding from powder) and corn soy blend flour (Likuni Phala) became their lifelines, ensuring they received the essential nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Queen shared her initial appreciations, saying, “I was not sure about the children’s well-being when the family decided that I should be the one to care for these kids. I was also a widow for just a few months, and I had my children to look after too. But with the help of Lusubilo, my fears are gone, and I am sure that I will raise them into strong young men.”

Queen with Wanangwa and Lusungu holding lactogen (infant formula) which they have received from Lusubilo.

Over the course of 14 months, Lusungu and Wanangwa’s transformation has been nothing short of wonders. The impact of the Infant Feeding Program has been undeniable. Both children have gained weight from the 2.6 and 2.1 to 11.4 and 10.8 respectively. Their once frail bodies are now growing stronger with each passing day. The loving and nurturing environment at Lusubilo Community Care and their aunt’s care has had a significant role in their recovery. They were showered with the affection they deserved, which had been stolen from them so early in their lives. The guardian also confirmed her amazement on how the kids are growing. “Our kids are growing really well, and they are not often sick except some flue rarely, people don’t believe that they are the orphaned children and that they are depending on Infant formula and Likuni Phala, we are so grateful to Lusubilo for the Support” said Queen Mweso.

Wanangwa growth journey showing height and body weight (BW) before joining Lusubilo and after being in Lusubilo’s program

Wanangwa started receiving infant formula at the weight of 2.1Kg and a height of 53.1cm. He was the one who needed doctors help to be fully born. For the 14 months that he has been in the program his weight has changed now to 10.8 kg, with a height of 78.4cm and 16.3 Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC).

Lusungu growth journey showing height and body weight before joining Lusubilo and after being in Lusubilo’s program

Lusungu started receiving infant formula with the weight of 2.6Kg and a height of 52cm. For the 14 months that he has been in the program his weight has now improved to 11.4Kg, with a height of 79.1cm and 16.5 Mid-Upper Arm Circumference. This shows how their growth has been impacted with the supplies that they have been relying on.

The officers at Lusubilo not only ensured the children’s physical well-being but also provided emotional support to their father, Mabvuto Mweso, and their aunt through distribution meetings and monitoring exercises.  There is a continued support and encouragement to the guardians as the children are still in the program until they reach 24 months as recommended by the program.

Queen and Mabvuto Mweso expressed their gratitude to Lusubilo for the support that was rendered to them. “We are so grateful to Lusubilo, we were really desperate on how we are going to raise these kids. We cried for the loss of their mother and also for the future of these kids she left us with. This is really a great burden that you eased our family, God should bless Lusubilo and all the workers, we lack words and ways on how we can say thank you “said Mabvuto Mweso.

Through the knowledge shared during infant feeding distributions and education sessions Queen is also practicing dimba farming cultivating tomatoes, vegetables and maize. The field is just 600 meters away from her home which makes it easier for harvesting or collecting for a business. The field helps them for home use and as a source of income for the kids she is raising. “I do not worry much about sourcing relish for the kids as I can just go and get some vegetables from the garden, we also sell some to raise our income for other needs, I was encouraged by the officers through the facilitations that we have every month on nutrition, sanitation and hygiene now am reaping” She explained.

Queen in her vegetable garden

Queen started doing vegetable farming after being educated in the infants feeding program’s facilitations on good nutrition and income security. Beneficiaries of the program are encouraged to practice this to improve the nutrition status of the infants and the household as well as a way of ensuring program sustainability in the case of program phase out.

In the midst of tragedy, the Infant Feeding Program brought about a story of resilience, love, and unwavering community support. The twins not only survived but thrived, showcasing the transformative power of compassionate care and proper nutrition. Lusungu and Wanangwa’s journey from vulnerable newborns to thriving 14-month-olds exemplifies the profound impact that organizations like Lusubilo Community Care can have on the lives of those they serve.

The Lusubilo Community Care’s Infant Feeding Program, through the care and dedication of its staff and financial partners, the Coppel Family, has demonstrated that even in the face of the most challenging circumstances, the future can be brighter, and love can prevail. Lusungu and Wanagwa are a living proof that with the right support, every child has the potential to blossom into a beautiful and thriving individual, no matter where they start in their life.

By Communication Office.

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