In a small peach-coloured house located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Centre for Medico-Social Assistance provides patients with serious illnesses palliative care and the best possible chance to enjoy life.
Bending over her traditional clay cookstove, 38-year-old Lucky Mazangesure stirs the simmering ingredients in a small saucepan: fried-green bananas in stew of tomatoes and onions.
As the fire crackles, the scent of woodsmoke mixes with the savory-sweet aroma of the saucy, steaming treat. “Trust me,” she says, “after the eating this banana dish you won’t be able to stop.”
She can’t resist a quick taste – just to make sure it’s coming out the way it should. “I really love cooking,” she says. “I like tasting the food while cooking. It makes me happy
and it keeps my stomach full.”
Then she checks on some simmering beans and starts preparing another local delicacy: pumpkin porridge with roasted peanuts, which will be complimented by cooked spinach and broccoli.
This diverse meal does a lot more than keep her full, she adds. It gives her body the vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohyrdates she needs to keep herself and her infant, nursing child healthy.
Like many new mothers here in Chibuwe, in southeastern Zimbabwe, Lucky is able to prepare these well-balanced meals thanks to a garden at the Chibuwe Health Clinic, which is tended largely by pregnant woman and new mothers who visit the clinic for pre-natal and post-partum care.