Without Borders...

Abby and Sara have been best friends since they met in the dorms at Colorado State University in 2002. Each year since then, they have been on at least one trip together, with the last few years consisting of backpacking travels through Europe.

In 2010, they decided to put their desire to see the world towards a more constructive cause. Instead of taking an adventurous vacation, they chose to visit Tanzania and volunteer with Light in Africa for five weeks.

This winter, they are going back to Light in Africa to volunteer for another five weeks, and can't wait to see how much "their" kids have grown!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mirerani day 3 - food kitchen

Our third day at Mirerani, we helped out at the Light in Africa Food Kitchen. As mentioned in other posts, the Food Kitchen runs five days a week and serves an average of 400 people a day. The kitchen used to run six days a week, but the organization who donates the food, had to validate their donation through “research”. That essentially means they quit sending food for 5 or 6 months to see how necessary the kitchen was. Turns out, as everyone would have told them, it was extremely needed – one girl who visited the kitchen daily for her only meal starved to death in her home (mother had died of AIDS previously and left her alone).

Now for what Abby and I did at the kitchen – she was a soux chef, I was a bus boy. For 3ish hours, she was bent over a hot pot of rice (by pot I mean end-table size GIANT bowl) serving two heaping scoops of rice/bean/meat mixture with two cucumber slices, one tomato slice, and a third of a banana. The cool thing about the meal the kids are served is that it includes 100% of the recommended amount of nutritional value (as in many cases, the meal will be the childs only of the day).

My job as bus boy was to clear off the tables from their bowls, cup and spoon – as well as wipe the tables/bench down. I’m confident I had way more fun at my job than Abby did, as I was able to “talk” with the kids during my job. That means I jibber-jabbered on, and they looked at me like I was crazy (pretty much the theme here). Many of the kids had their tattered school uniforms on, but others were wearing literal rags. One little boy I remember had his adorable little butt-cheek showing from hip to knee, until his older sister strategically folded them when she noticed other kids were making fun of him. The incredible poverty and hopeless of the town can bring me to tears even now, and knowing that these kids have no one, and every day are vulnerable to terrors I can’t even imagine can make your stomach turn. In an area populated by criminals, prostitutes, and the children they make – you can draw your own conclusion.

The work and dedication Mama Lynn puts into this hopeless “town” is beyond remarkable, and I’m incredibly grateful for being able to witness her work with the people.

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