Recently little Moses fainted at school because he hadn’t eaten in several days. Hunger is rampant in Mbayi. Children who walk long distances to school with empty tummies have little energy to concentrate in class. Poor nutrition is affecting their mental development. Hit hard by the incident with Moses and concerned about the plight of these kids, I met with teachers at Mbayi Primary School. It was clear we needed to devise some sort of feeding program. I had some bags of dehydrated vegetables brought by recent visitors and offered to buy mealie-meal (corn flour) for the traditional nshima (the staple cornmeal food). So the other day amidst much excitement two volunteer mothers prepared lunch. Fifty children were at school that day (there are about 200 registered), for the most part tattered and hungry, and I felt a tug at my heartstrings as they seriously then joyfully had a meal together.
Then the most wonderful thing happened. Full of energy they began to laugh and play! We are very grateful to Ontario Christian Gleaners—www.OntarioGleaners.org—whose dehydrated Vegetable Soup Mix we used to feed the children and to John Ghent one of their volunteers who brought this nutritional mixture to us. Gleaners is a non-profit volunteer driven organization that dehydrates local surplus and off grade produce from food distributors, importers, growers and packing plants to feed hungry children around the world. During grace we thanked God for all you volunteers who trimmed, diced, and dried veggies so that kids could have a delicious (they loved it!) nutritious lunch. Later this month a container will leave Canada with more of this product heading to fill tummies in Mbayi. I am sooo grateful to a team of friends who are making this possible!!!! Happy Thanksgiving Canadians.