Moments from Haiti... The job of eating

[Photo by LucastheExperience]
Three days a week the Manasseros run a feeding program for kids who live in the area and are regularly undernourished. These kids might or might not eat when they are at home. A bowl of rice and beans at the feeding program is the only substantial meal they will get for a couple of days when the next feeding program happens.

It is interesting to watch these kids eat. They clearly do not eat for taste. That is, how the food tastes is not important. For them, eating is a job.

It gets oddly quiet when the kids are eating. There is no horseplay like you might see at an American elementary school cafeteria. These kids from the ravine are focused. There is a marked intensity to their eating.

Nor are there mounds of food to throw away. If a child leaves leftovers, another child eats them.

And you should see how much these kids eat! When you might not eat for a day or two, you shovel as much in as you can. Many kids eat until their stomachs are bulging and tight as a watermelon. There was one little boy, no more than two or three years old, who was methodically fed by an older girl until he had consumed two huge plates full of rice and beans. He ate more food than I can eat! His bulging stomach protruded immensely – something like a pregnant woman five or six months along. Susette tried to get him to stop, but he and the girl worked steadily until the second plateful was completely clean. I was pretty sure he would throw it all back up within an hour or two. But we could not convince him to leave uneaten food on his plate.

I am so thankful for the feeding program the Manasseros put on! It is ministry to the kids, but it is also ministry to Christ himself – “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat…” (Matt 25:34).

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