Friday, November 28, 2008

Feeding in Masese

We arose early to go to the Centre Market. The 'day after Thanksgiving shopping' here in Uganda was marked by the purchase of some A&F jeans for 10,000 shillings ($5) and a few t-shirts each for about 75 cents. Good deals and not fueling the American consumerism culture! :)

The rest of the day was spent giving food away (which had me on an emotional rollercoaster). I have read blogs and heard stories about the weekly feeding of children in the village of Masese. But it was an entirely different thing to experience it firsthand. Masese is a village near Lake Victoria, one village over from Walukuba and each week Josh – a Canadian who has been helping volunteer for Suubi – spends about 100 Canadian dollars to feed children in Masese. Yesterday he brought 30 kilos (over 65 lbs) of beans to Masese on a piki. He pays a woman there to cook them in 2 HUGE pots. Today he picked up 200 chipatis (thick oily tortillas) that get halved, then it was off to the market for 400 oranges.

When we arrived I was blown away to see the kids lined up waiting with plates, containers, or even plastic bags. No shoes and dirty, torn, and missing clothing. I was in charge of the chipatis – handing a half to each person after they got their scoop of beans and orange. Although we had enough for 400 kids, we ran out of oranges and had to start breaking the chipatis into quarters. We served about 450 kids, and there were a few at the back of the line that didn’t get anything. It was overwhelming and there was lots of crowd control as kids would try and cut in line or sneak back in after they had already been served. And I found myself angry at times because kids who were 7 or 8 were caring their younger siblings on their hips and after I would hand the baby a chipati, the older sibling would take it away. I would say “no, you let them eat it now.” And there were kids who would steal from other (often younger) kids – I don’t know what it is to not have enough food, or want to save it to bring home to the family, so I realized all I could do was give and trust that it would provide nutrition. An eye-opening experience and another reminder of the needs!

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