We were fascinated with the large scale food preparation that occurs each day by these wonderful women for the children at the Village of Hope Mwanza. Many photos we share in our posts are situations or events that were unexpected from our perspective. Cooking for 200+ children is an enormous effort but must start with wood for the fire. This man uses a machete to cut the wood. I asked him if I could try it. The wood was very hard and after about 10 swings I had only cut about 1/2 inch (1cm) into it. He does this for hours.
The house moms are responsible for the children’s homes but are also tasked with preparing the food which includes two nutritious mid day meals for the neighbourhood kids that attend school. The women are inspecting the food prior to cooking to remove any impurities. This seems to be a social time for the women as a great deal of talking and laughing was be taking place. Good to see all those smiles! Vegetables, fish and maize are part of the meal in these photos.
Now the hard part of cooking on these large outdoor pots starts. With the temperatures outside approaching 30 degrees Celsius we can only imagine how hot it gets standing next to them stirring the food.
The outdoor cooking pots
Here is a video of the final stages of making the mid morning porridge:
The mature mango trees on the Village of Hope Mwanza compound are beginning to produce mangoes much to Tricia’s delight. The harvesting method is simple but effective. Take a long stick and knock them down and if this doesn’t work then climb the tree.
The mangoes fall to the ground and are gathered in piles. A staff member then uses a wheelbarrow to get them away from Tricia as soon as possible and to the children. But if you are lucky you get to try one fresh right off the tree!
We had a great visit at Village of Hope Mwanza. Village of Hopeis an amazing organization that gives help to vulnerable children by providing education, nutrition, healthcare & housing (when needed). They currently have 9 locations in 6 African Countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe & Burundi) and provide help to 3,000 children.
We were very impressed with what we saw at the Village of Hope Mwanza. Not only do they house 86 children ranging in age from 3 years old to early twenties, they also have about 200 kids from the community that come each week day for school & nutritious meals. All of the older children go to community high schools as VOH Mwanza currently offers classes from pre-school through Grade 6.
In total they have 10 houses, each with 8 to 9 kids and one house mother. Every house has both boys & girls as well as mixed ages which feels more like family to the children. The kids are also required to help with chores such as laundry, cooking & cleaning so that they learn the skills they will need to be independent. The meals are cooked in a traditional Tanzanian outdoor kitchen.
There is also one large outdoor kitchen where all of the house mothers cook a mid morning & mid day meal for all 250+ kids who go to school on-site. Watching them cook was very fascinating which may deserve a blog post on its own!
The grounds were well cared for and kept clean both by the kids and staff.
One room is set up for sewing as well as a dedicated man who does beautiful beadwork.
There is also a large garage/machine shop where many pieces of equipment, large & small, get fixed.
The kids were a lot of fun to meet! Huge smiles, happy greetings and a lot of silliness 🙂