One of the questions we are asked most often goes something like, “What do the students at The Lion of Judah Academy eat?”
As you may, or may not know, Tanzania – and East Africa generally – is in a period of severe drought, with accompanying food shortages. We are going to provide more details about this crisis, and what you can do to help, in our next post here (within just a couple of days…we’re only waiting for a few details from the school so we can provide the most current information).
But in the meantime we thought we’d publish a typical Lion of Judah Academy dorm menu for a week. Here it is:
In the chart we’ve provided the Kiswahili translation for the various terms. The Kiswahili is immediately to the right of the English words.
For instance, Monday in Kiswahili is “Jumatatu.” Breakfast on Monday is Tea and Rice, or “Chai” (tea) and “Wali” (rice). And so forth.
One food you will see mentioned frequently is “Ugali” – which doesn’t really have an English word equivalent, because we don’t have anything quite like it in our diet. It is corn meal, boiled in water until it is a very thick consistency…a bit thicker than break dough before it is baked. Ugali is a very important food to the average Tanzanian, and in many homes it is served almost daily.
Another food which doesn’t have an English translation on this chart is “Mchicha.” This is often translated as “spinach.” Mchica is leafy green vegetable, cooked like our spinach.
You will see quite a bit of protein – meat, fish and beans – on this menu. The typical Tanzania school child will not have access to nearly so much meat and protein…but we are committed to providing the most nutritious meals possible to our students.
You will also notice that rice is served almost daily…sometimes twice a day. Most Tanzanian diets will include much more ugali, and much less rice. Rice is more costly, but considerably more nutritious (and more expensive!).
At present most of the school’s food must be purchased. We have started a school garden, and it is providing supplies of a limited variety of fruit and vegetables. However once the school water system has been completed (see School Water Project in Final Stage under ‘Recent Posts’ to the right) we will, at last, be able to irrigate. This will tremendously expand our ability to grow our own fruit and produce, rice and corn.
Check back here in a couple of days and there will be a post on current drought conditions in Tanzania, and how The Lion of Judah Academy is addressing the crisis.