We arrived to around five hundred children ages five to twelve getting ready for the meal. The first thing that struck me is how well behaved they were. The younger ones wash up first and get in line, and the older children wait patiently for their turn. Let me back a bit...these children do not get lunch everyday. The school (and Integrity, the organization we were with) helps feed them three times a week. A large number of them live ten plus miles away so they don't walk home every night and literally spend the night out in the "bush". This means they also don't eat much for dinner. No going home for an after school snack or a warm meal before bed. So, if I only had three hot meals during the week, I would think I would be charging the food line :)
All photo credit goes to Ashley Johnson:
The meal we helped serve consisted of rice, beans, and a stew (which was potatoes, beans, onion, and goat). Having meat in the stew was a real treat, and described as what a Christmas or Easter dinner would be like.
melt. my. heart.
This is Dennis, he is a mess.
Each child brings their own bowl/cup for their lunch to go in. Another thing that amazed me is that some didn't have one, and would come up to be served with a friend. To these children, we would serve a double portion. They then would go sit and share their meal. No fights, tears, struggles...quiet, equal sharing. My sweet wonderful children fight over who gets to drink milk out of which color cup at meal time.
Another observation, was that if there was any left over, you can continue serving until there is nothing left. The younger children are usually first in line for "seconds" and again no complaints or grumblings from the older kids. I think the point I am trying to make is that they are content with what they have though by our "standards" it is not much.
It is also a privilege to go to school. The Maasai people of this area historically are herdsman. The children as young as three or four are out herding the goats, sheep, and cows. They are not always able to go to school as they are in charge of the animals. So if you are able to send your kids to school, you are doing well.
The church women preparing the meal
Stay tuned for more installments...