Thursday, September 29, 2016

Feeding the 5000...errr 300+

So what's it like feeding over 280 kids and 100+ employees daily here at NPH?  Not easy, that's for sure!  The cooks start their day before the crack of dawn with the preparation of breakfast.  The kids are in the commodor eating by 6:00am every day.

After serving and cleaning from breakfast, preparation begins for the biggest meal of the day: almuerzo.  As in Europe and many other central and south american countries, Guatemalan's have their largest meal at midday.  This means the morning is spent peeling, chopping and cooking whatever the most recent donation might be.  

We are generously provided with "seconds" from surrounding farms.  This means we receive whatever is in harvest that they can't sell.  Which in turn means we might eat green beans straight for a week and then next week broccoli and carrots.

The kids themselves serve the food.  They rotate through for each meal, dishing out for everyone else before sitting down to eat.  The perk to this is they usually get to have a little extra helping on their own plate.  All the kids wash their own losa (an NPH term for plate, cup and spoon) after each meal.  

The only real exception to this is the special needs kids and the baby house kids who have their own kitchens and eat in their own houses.  There is added protein in the baby diet and because they have a slightly different meal plan, they eat all but one dinner a week separately.  The special needs kids eat with the other kids about twice a week but because of the help they need to eat, it is more feasible for them to eat in their house.

It's not an easy task feeding this many kids.  A typical day means preparing 820+ meals.  Beans for breakfast and beans for dinner are the norm but every once in a while we feast on pancakes, blackberries, pizza, hamburgers and even occasionally grilled chicken with fresh avocados.  To be honest, it's not always the most appetizing but it is always healthy and filling.

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