Friday, August 1, 2014

Lunch time!

One of my American co-workers has been in the US for 8 months due to a family illness, so I have taken over the school lunch program in his absence.
Two Haitian women cook 2 giant vats of rice and beans every day during the school year to feed approximately 100 students and 20 staff. The children are ushered in by class, eat and then go to recess.

Because many of our school kids do not get reliable meals, or any meal for that matter, when they are at home, we continue the lunch program over the summer. One of our young teachers, Louis-Pierre, born and bred in Jubilee, manages the children when they come, making sure that the littlest ones eat first, that the handicapped children do not get pushed around, and that food doesn't get dropped on the clean floor to feed family dogs.
A few weeks ago, Brian and his construction crew built a new kitchen for the lunch program. It's airy, bright, and safer from potential theft. It also looks exactly like the service window at a hot dog stand or an ice cream truck in the US. Every time I walk in there, I'm tempted to ask for "one large root beer float, please!"
The other fantastic addition to the cafeteria is a child-accessible hand-washing sink! Now the children can come straight in from the schoolyard and wash their hands before they get in line for a plate of food. I call the sink "Cholera-Be-Gone!"

School lunch consists of fortified rice, shipped in from supporters in the US, and Haitian brown beans. I've tried to assure that the kids also get fruit with their meal at least twice a week. During mango season, it was mangos on Friday and bananas on Monday. And since July is the beginning of avocado season, now the kids get slices of avocado with their rice, an excellent nutritional boost: protein, potassium, iron, folic acid, and good fats.
You should see those kids shovel piles of rice into their mouths. I like sitting there and just watching them eat with gusto. Happy lunch, kiddos!

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