Moringa trees in Central America
It was 5 o’clock and still daylight in Tegucigalpita, Honduras, the murder capital of Central America. The lights in the homes were kept low, as not to draw too much electricity. At a nearby orphanage, some young men from Portland, Oregon, were ignoring the sounds of gunshots. They were absorbed in a discussion. They were going on and on about trees. Trees? Yes, trees. But not just any tree: the moringa tree.
The Portland Men Fellows wanted to crank out a project that may well save the lives of the orphans, many of whom are chronically undernourished and abandoned in the jungles of Honduras. Their work was all about the children, the orphans in the Heart-to-Hearta Children’s Village. More on that later. Now back to the Fellows and the trees.
The year before, the Fellows had made great strides bringing more nutritious vegetables and protein to the orphanage. They had built a greenhouse that was partially solar powered and provided tilapia filets to the dining room. The poop filled water from the fish, in return, was strained through the system and returned to the plants, fertilizing the vegetables in the greenhouse. Known as an aquaponics project, the Fellows ignored the nearby dangers and fell in love with the children. In return they were able to create a sustainable source of nutrition and protein for the orphans.
This year the fellows were fascinated with the idea of growing a hedgerow of some plants that thrive in the heat and humidity of Honduras. The local farmers had found that Moringa trees (Moringa oleifera) are easy to grow and they provide many collateral benefits: they protect other crops, they have tasty leaves, and they are native to Honduras. Local farmers harvest parts of the hedgerows and use the plant for their diets, medicines, and teas. The Fellows wondered if similar hedgerows could be grown on the orphanage grounds to supplement their diets.
The moringa tree, as told in urban legend, is a miracle plant. Native to Asia, the tree grows in a wide swath of countries along the equator and south to the shores of South Africa. The tree has been cultivated for thousands of years and has been praised for its virtues to nourish and fortify humans. Nearly every part of the tree can be used to help save the world: warm salad from the leaves, plant-based pastes from the sap and bark, remarkable oils from the long seed pods, herbal teas from the leaves and roots.
Fast growing, the moringa tree can be a food source and salvation for people all over the world. As the story goes it’s plant parts contain 25 times more iron than spinach, 17 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 4 times more protein than eggs, 15 times more potassium than bananas, and 10 times more vitamin A than carrots.
Moringa on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera
The moringa tree is called many things: horseradish tree, ben tree, or drumstick tree; however it is known by the scientific name, Moringa oleifera. It is the perfect arbor laboratory for the Fellows to explore. All people should have access to food, water, shelter, and comfort. Abraham Maslow says that until those needs are met, that it is impossible for people to reach higher levels of civil interaction and achievement.
Why not give these Honduran orphans the best plant-based foods available and help improve their health? It is all about getting a good start. These children, many of whom have lost their parents to drug wars, have little hope except for the generosity of others. We applaud the Fellows for continuing to lend their hand to help the less fortunate.
What is the cause they are pursuing again? Food and nutrition for orphan children.
Drumstick-like seed pods
Heart to Heart Children’s Village
The Children’s Village is located approximately 50 miles south of Puerto Cortes where we raise and take care of 98 children. On the 8-acre property, the Village has separate facilities for our boys, girls and toddlers/babies.
On the property we have many fun areas for the kids as well including soccer fields, basketball fields and a few swing sets.
Each of the houses are overseen by house “mommies” who oversee the day to day life where they help the children in virtually everything. A fun fact – the village serves approximately 140,000 meals each year and over 15,000 loads of laundry.
The WWH2H Children’s Village is an amazing place. For a blessing you will never forget, please come visit tho orphanage ometime on one of our many teams that travel each year from the US.