Mary’s Meal could not run smoothly without the help of tens of thousands of volunteers, worldwide. People who donate their time without asking anything in return. The fact that so many people are willing to selflessly give of themselves for the cause of Mary’s Meals is what makes the organization so alluring.
One of my favorite volunteers within the program, and one of the easier to clearly identify are the parents. These men and women come and cook the food every morning; usually beginning their task of collecting the necessary firewood in the very early morning hours. These volunteers spend almost half a day, every day, cooking for their children, and the children within their community.
Whenever I am blessed enough to be able to accompany my husband into the field and observe the schools, I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and see all of the action. I love seeing the volunteers in action, the smiles on their faces, the sweat dripping from them as they stand in sweltering heat, stirring the porridge (Malawi’s already hot, can you imagine standing beside a fire for hours!?)
I love how excited they get to have their pictures taken. Mike and I always have to joke because well, if you haven’t been to a school in Liberia, Malawi, or Kenya (Can I say Africa, as I haven’t technically BEEN to all of Africa? Hmm…) Anyway, if you haven’t been to a school where you’re the only white person for miles (besides your husband) and you’re the only person that these young children have seen with a camera in quite some time, then you haven’t lived.
I can’t begin to describe to you the chaos that ensues when a camera is presented from a Mzungu (aka white person). Hundreds, and hundreds of smiling, beautiful faces appear instantly all waving and fighting for the position to be at the front so that they are closest to the camera.
Anyway, tangent aside, the adults act no differently. Well, they do tend to be a bit more subtle, but in this picture that we took…we initially intended it to only be the woman leaning on the ledge as she was doing naturally. However, as soon as we put the camera up to our eye, a second volunteer came behind her and nearly pushed her out of the shot! HA!
Mike and I had to laugh, the adults aren’t much different from the children. Though the same is true for every culture.
So here’s to you: The Mary’s Meals cook! The men and women leaning over a hot boiling pot of porridge, even when it’s already over one hundred degrees out! The people that dedicate their time every day to the betterment of their children. To providing others that can’t eat, with food. And to helping us, as a human race, take one more step closer to ending world hunger.
PS one of my favorite sites we saw while in Mzuzu was at an Army base. Here it was predominately men dressed in Army fatigues. They were the teachers, the principal, everything for these children. Needless to say, it was quite impressive to see HUGE men in Army fatigues cooking porridge for their children. It was definitely a Holy Spirit moment and I’m sure quite impactful for the children!