August 20, 2019

August 20, 2019

After the mishaps of yesterday, the malnutrition team is proud to say that today ran much more smoothly. The day began by boiling the sweet potatoes in the mushroom team’s pressure cooker and preparing the recipes for the day. The muffin team decided that they should add salt for their next iteration of the recipe. This was one of the biggest suggestions from the mothers who tried our product the previous days. The pudding team decided to go back through their three iterations of the recipe to try and collect double the data points per recipe. Today they went with their third iteration – more sugar! 

Then Karli, Neena, Kayla, Seanna, and Rachel went to the Kalongba clinic with our four translators to try and collect as much data as we could.

Unfortunately the word did not spread to the mothers too well and most of the families there were children under 6 months waiting to get their immunizations. However, we stayed and collected as much surveys as we could – in total we got 10 for the pudding and 2 for the muffins. 


After the disappointing outing, we regrouped at World Hope to determine our game plan for the rest of the day. Since we still needed at least 50 more surveys in total for both teams, we took a trip to one of the local villages, Masongba, to go taste testing house to house. 

It is absolutely insane that this is the second to last day in Makeni! During the drive, Rachel kept saying, “this is the last time you’re going to see this” and it was really sad. We have enjoyed our time here so much and absolutely loved working with and getting to know everyone who has helped us complete our research. 

August 13, 2019

August 13, 2019

Today was an insanely busy but productive day for the malnutrition team! The day began with World Hope providing us with an intern from the University of Freetown to help us out with our research. Her name is Futia and she’s studying social work.

(Futia making homemade peanut butter)

From there, we had to confirm the plans that we had set in place for the day and prepare all of our samples that we needed for our taste testing at both World Hope and Wesleyan Church. Seanna talked with Mo-Mo and guaranteed that women and children were arriving at the WHI at 11:00 AM and Kayla was able to confirm with Reverend David that the he had been spreading the word of our taste testing throughout the villages for the last few days. Simultaneously, Chris was working on making another batch of Magic Muffins.

(Chris mixing the batter for the muffins)

(Kayla, Chris, Matt, Rachel, and Futia preparing the samples)

These batches came out perfectly and were ready to serve just in time!

(The muffins when they were just out of the oven)

When the muffins and the pudding were ready to serve, we had our very first taste test!! Whoo-hoo! It was a huge success in the sense that we were able to collect data and gain experience completing the surveys and working with our translators.


(Neena administering surveys with some of the mothers and children)

(Kayla talking with one of the 6-24 months)

However, during a meeting that we had with Khanjan after the tasting ended, we established that this was going to be a pilot run and we would not be able to use any of the data that we collected. Talking through our survey and interviewing process with Khanjan, we decided that we needed to create a more systematic method as well as set in place goals for our team to accomplish in the next few weeks.

Our team needs to

  1. Find and apply for funding to continue our research in the future
  2. Write the outline and methodology for a future paper
  3. Establish the different variables that are in play throughout our research study
  4. Create a matrix of the different recipes we want to compare and analyze for both teams
  5. Update the IRB protocol

It felt like things were really shifted into gear for the malnutrition team. We knew what we had to do and we were determined on getting everything done. At 4 PM Kayla, Karli, Yakuba, and Matt headed over to the Wesleyan Church to meet with Reverend David and set up the location in which we would be administering the taste tests and surveys. Since we knew that this tasting would be a larger group of people, we had four interviewers, four interpreters, and a three floaters. Kayla, Neena, Seanna, and Rachel were interviewing with Yakuba, Emanuel, Futia, and Alexander as interpreters. The testing at the church was absolutely chaotic – there were roughly 200 mothers and children who showed up.

(Taste testing at Wesleyan Church)

As a result of the chaos, we weren’t able to get a ton of data points, but the ones we did manage to collect were really helpful. Moving forward we are going to work through avoiding mass crowds swarming the interviews and trying to keep the taste testings in more of an orderly fashioned manner. We are so excited to finally be collecting tangible data and be working through the hiccups we faced and continue being successful.

(Malnutrition team enjoying the beautiful sunset in the back of a truck)



August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019

Today was our second full day in Makeni, Sierra Leone. While the day consisted of minimum outdoor excursions, it was full of logistical and practical meetings inside the World Hope office.

The first thing we did was meet with Katis Bangura, the project manager of the World Hope bakery and Catherine Kouroma, the World Hope bakery manager. We learned that the bakery is employing roughly 10 women (and men) and teaching them the practice of bread making. Katis and Catherine were extremely helpful during our meeting and are allowing us to use their facilities to cook/produce our products. As of right now, we are planning to start the beginning of the baking process at the bakery Monday August 12. They are also allowing our group to attend one of their training sessions for their employees tomorrow, Wednesday August 7. We are meeting them at 9AM to learn their policies, protocols, and just generally learn how their machines work. Catherine told us that most, if not all, the women that were employed in the bakery had children and we would be able to test our products and complete the surveys with them. She said that there is a possibility that we will be able to meet the children and the women at the training session tomorrow and even though we don’t have products for them to try, it will be a great opportunity to meet them and familiarize them with our products. This is really exciting for our team!


Immediately following that meeting, our team had another meeting within our group to determine specific goals and internal checkpoints as well as more concrete plans for the next few days. Tomorrow, Wednesday August 7, after the training session our goal is to go back to the markets and pick up the necessary ingredients and supplies that we need to start baking our products. Thursday August 8, our team is planning cooking at the resort we’ve been staying at from 10AM-12PM. With these finished products, we will hopefully be able to return to the bakery and get input on the products.


The last two things that we accomplished today was 1) setting up the project budget for this trip so we know where our money is going and 2) we could work with Jawara regarding our survey for the mothers/children. The purpose of getting Jawara’s help was to make sure that the questions would be easily translated and communicated to the people we intended to interview.


Our budget is as follows:

Food – 500,000 SLL

Translators – 100,000 SLL

Hotel Gas (cooking) – unknown

General Work (anything not accounted for) – 100,000 SLL

Bakery Payment – 100,000 SLL


We also were able to re-explore the markets and taste some local foods.

Today was a very rainy day, but we were definitely able to enjoy it! We are really excited to continue our work tomorrow with more in depth and active in field research.

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