Around the world, Moringa is beginning to receive credit where it is due, as Mother Nature slowly unveils the mask that has kept Moringa Oleifera a hidden gem of the world. Moringa Oleifera is native to West Africa, and originates from the Himilayas in India. Moringa is known as the divine tree because virtually every part of it can be used as some type of holistic medicine. Moringa leaves, gram for gram, contain four times the vitamin A found in carrots, three times the potassium of bananas, provides anti-inflammatory support, heightened mental clarity, over 46 types of antioxidants, and that’s just the beginning! With all the health benefits of this miracle herb, it can easily be termed as the most nutritious herb on Earth. Frankly, it’s now our turn to help spread the word, and plant some trees!
I sit in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin as I tell you the tale of a young lady making a difference in the rural neighborhood of Reque, Peru, a city that, by ‘genetic makeup’ unfortunately doesn’t see much green space (or green in general for that matter) due to its geography. Amy Narr, a graduate of the University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a native Wisconsinite, is a Peace Corps volunteer experiencing first hand what it means to be a Peruvian. With the open arms and hospitality of Bertha, her host Mom, Amy has whole-heartedly dove head first into this local community, digging her feet into everything she can to learn and help in a plethora of capacities, ranging from banking and business development to cultural projects at the local Eco Center, most notably the Moringa Oleifera project.
“The Moringa Oleifera project is a reforestation and green area initiative that also promotes well-being of the general population as well as an economic opportunity for Peru,” says Amy. Not only is her team of Peace Corps volunteers championing this project, the NGO Econcentro Eutopia will contribute seeds, and workspace as well as a nursery for the trees and general knowledge on the tree and how to care for it, she informed. The community will learn of the miracles hidden in all parts of the Moringa tree, with hands on activities including the harvesting of their own tree. The ideal outcome of this project is to give each family access to a Moringa Tree for nutritional and medicinal use, coupled with the necessary knowledge of all benefits the tree provides and the know-how to utilize them. More specifically, there is a outcome focus on women of the community generating income, activities, and selling by-products of the tree and nutritious food prepared with Moringa stuffs, as to increase their household income.
Reque, an arid city, populated by about 12,000 people, is located about 18 kilometers outside of Chicalayo, situated on the coast of Peru. The most palpable problems that Reque faces; a lack of green areas, extreme air, water, and land pollution, and ground material that mainly consists of sand. With a measly one-inch of rain per year and a sun that burns with extreme intensity all year, it takes a remarkable amount of resilience for crops to stand a chance. This gives way to the second most prevalent issue that Reque faces; poor nutrition. The only crops that are able to up withstand these extreme climates are nutritionally deficient; bread, rice and potatoes-a diet focusing on carbohydrates-the antithesis of what a people should consume in such a climate. The fruits and vegetables that should make up the most of their diet cannot survive this climate. This is why rooting Moringa in Peru is such an important feat.
Amy, along with people all over the world, are doing their part to help spread the roots of Moringa to bring health into the hands of each and every individual, one of the most valuable and tangible lessons we can learn in our lives. At the moment, the Moringa Project is going swimmingly, planting trees, and educating all walks of life in the community. The proof is in the pudding. And we all like some pudding. There’s nothing that we cannot fix in this world if we work together. The nutritional deficits and disease that are so prevalent in this day and age should not be a thing with Mother Nature on our side. Let’s get dirty, plant some trees and close the knowledge gap that surrounds this magnificent plant; Moringa.