March 1, 2008

Iinkhukhu Kakulu!

My one-line job description on a form somewhere in the Mission Personnel Office in New York City says something like, “assist in the running of the Project as needed.” Nearly every day, it seems, I learn that means something new. On Wednesday, we got a call that the grocery store where we purchase all the food we distribute at Itipini had a donation to make so I went to fetch it.

It turns out the store had about 160-kg of chicken that had somehow been damaged but was still quite edible. I loaded it into the back of our truck and drove back to Itipini, where it was immediately put to good use.

Along with their afternoon snack, the pre-school children also got to take home a bag of chicken parts.

The after-school program cooked up a bunch of it for themselves, producing what I am sure is the best recent attendance. The feet and heads, parts that normally don’t make it into our pre-packaged parcels in grocery stores, are happily gnawed on here.

I gave a bag each to my high-school English students, who also ate some of the food the after-school program cooked.
(Note the ear buds from my ever-popular iPod. My next task is to figure out how to share the music with more than one person at a time.) One of my student’s children joined us that day and I kept him happy with a chicken foot and a piece of bread the whole class.

The rest of it ended up in the hands of various other well-deserving types. At times like this, I am grateful we have the Community Project employees who work in the kitchen and distribute all the food. Since they live in the community and speak the language, they have a much better sense of who needs what. I just step back and let them hand it out.

The title of this post is part of my Xhosa learning process. When I returned, it is what I told the kitchen women I had in the truck and why I needed their help unloading. It turns out it translates better as “big chicken” then as “lots of chicken.” They thought it was pretty funny, though.