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Wednesday’s Wise woman and a man!

March 27, 2013

Again, I have spoken before of Cecilia Meireles; poet and artist.  Although I have yet to find examples f her painting I did find another example of her work quite by accident. While in Rio and  searching among some children’s book in a second hand bookshop for items by Angela Lago I came across this book. A festa das lettras (1997) written by Cecilia Meireles and Josue de Castro and illustrated by Joao Fahrion.  Josué de Castro was a Brazilian geographer, physician, writer and activist against world hunger.

He writes in the preface, the way that someone particularly a child  eats becomes a habit and difficult to change as one becomes ‘grown up.’ He suggests that these habits become so ingrained, even good advice and scientific admonishment is not adhered to. We have learned to eat what we like and not what we should eat, even if it is recommended for our health. We usually eat to relieve hunger or for its simple pleasure. But this is not enough, we need to provide the right nutrients. This is more complex than we think. One of the problems is education. and the shaping of our habits.  Good eating habits should develop during childhood especially to a Brazilian child who is subjected to a precarious and inappropriate diet.  In other words a diet that lacks certain elements indispensable to the nutritional balance or where they are found in adequate proportions.  

These deficiencies when not checked in the childhood diet at home or at school is more worrying because at this age the child needs the most strength and energy for its development.

The statistics and specialist observations have shown that these deficiencies maintain Brazilian children in a state of malnutrition; predisposing  them to many illnesses and these being responsible to the high percentage of infant mortality.

This series of books; this being volume one has the object to create and cultivate good eating habits in children in the various phases of their development.  In this volume he goes on to say they endeavour to present to children with the essential elements fundamental for a complete and harmonious diet. Structuring good habits towards certain irreplaceable elements or foods  with which children in general are not familiar due to dominant habits; such as milk, fresh fruit and vegetables.  

For this to be successful it must be done in an accessible way taking advantage of the children in various ways.  Avoiding where possible the monotony of didactic recommendations, unkind advice and the austerity of scientific principles. They have tried to give this book a suggestive and smooth character, also a playful spirit and rhythm that will relate fully with a growing child.  

So for this Wednesday a wise man … and a reminder of a fine and wise woman.

Please note this is a translation conducted in a busy cafe over afternoon tea!


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