Monday, June 13, 2016

If Pigs Could Fly - Haiti cooks for the schools!

Our school snack program started out as Mamas Makin' Mamba.  When peanuts were cheap and plentiful, our crew of 6 would roast, grind, smash, stir and beat up fresh peanut butter and serve on locally-made kassava bread or biskwit (kind of like hard tack from the whaling days!) 

Madame Vab has been part of our team since 2001.  She helps transport materials by donkey (or  more recently motorcycle!) She is involved at all levels of the operation: purchasing raw materials, transporting, cooking and serving.
Recently, the price of peanuts has made this effort impractical.  The team decided to fall back on a very traditional - and popular - snack of fried dough, patay. They put a bit of stuffing (green onions, watercress and sometimes anchovy paste or dried fish) inside and fry the dough in a deep fat fryer.  Fried food is considered a delicacy; most food is boiled...and boiled and boiled.
Children at one of the two schools we serve, La Silen.

Ti Eli starts preparing the dough
Ti Eli's strong arms are useful for rolling out batch after batch of dough.

Madame Kawolis distributes the fried dough to a class of
older students at Silen.
Men anpil, chay pa lou. (Many hands make light work.)  Our team is at it from early dawn. That's Gran Dodo in the rear, supervising the team.  She's been part of the effort since 2001.

The warm fried dough is all most children will get before they return
 home at noon.  Most start on an empty stomach.  Wood, water, fire and something to put in the pot all must wait until family members have assembled the necessaries.  There is no refrigeration here, and, indeed, very little is left-over from an evening meal to keep until morning.

Ti Jordi sits with his buddies.  There is a pre-school, as well as several small classes for elementary students.  Typically, older youth have their classes in the afternoon.

Everyone is pretty happy in Silen's primary grades.
Currently, this school feeding program, the veterinary care project and the access to water effort are the three main areas of our work in the mountains above the plain of Leyogan.

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