With their hands and faces washed, the kids all sat down at the long table on their small chairs waiting for lunch. The bowls of rice, noodles, some potatoes and almost invisible pieces of meat were quickly served to the hungry children. How do I know they were hungry?? They practically inhaled the food that was placed in front of them. I think if I had blinked I would have missed them eating!
This is the one meal they are fed everyday. It is served midday for lunch. For breakfast, water, tea and maybe some type of bread. For dinner…tea, water and maybe some type of bread. Yes…it is the same.
Can you imagine – that every day when your one meal is served – it is the same thing? No real variation. No choice. Just what is placed on the table. If you don’t like it you don’t just get to go to the refrigerator or pantry and get something else to eat. There is no chance to go to a fast food restaurant and order what you feel like eating.
An interesting thing we learned this time on our visit…because meat is a rare commodity at the orphanage whatever is available is given the younger children. This is done because they are still in the early development stage and they need this for their growth. If meat runs out or is unavailable the older kids go without. Unfortunately this is often the case. And fruit – well that usually never appears on their plates. I looked at the 30+ bowls that were served and couldn’t help but notice the color. Plain – beige and yellow. No green – no vegetables. No color – no fruit. No variety.
And amazingly, at their young ages, they knew enough to tip the bowls on the side to be able to scoop up every last bit of this soup-like mixture with their spoons. The bowls were clean. Absolutely clean when they were finished.
Michael, the founder and director of La Sagrada Familia, told us that the worst part of the year for the orphanage is Jan through March. The reason…many companies and organizations donate at year end for the holidays and conditions do improve around Christmas. Same holds true here. Then after the holidays they are “forgotten” and donations tend to “dry up.” Michael and his staff have learned over the years to “budget” food. When contributions are high at year end, they stretch it out over the first quarter of the following year to make ends meet.
Timing. I have just finished making several desserts for tomorrow’s festivities and am writing this the day before Thanksgiving. The day before we feast on all types of delicacies, appetizers of all kinds, turkey, ham, vegetables, bread, mashed potatoes, salad, pies, cookies, cakes, dessert, the works…and I can’t help but wonder about these kids. I can’t help but swallow hard when I think of all the food that will be consumed on Thanksgiving and then picture what they eat on a daily basis.
And when their food runs out……….
In His Mighty Grip,
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