Cooking for 1,100
The daily responsibility of just a few
SPECIAL Women at Project Mercy










Yep, 1100 students at Project Mercy are fed breakfast and lunch 5 days a week.

For breakfast, each gets a large cup of ATMIT.  This oat-based porridge was invented years ago by Marta in her kitchen during an especially devastating famine.  It's formula was later fine-tuned in the US to assure that Atmit alone provided complete nutrition and was palatable.  What's IN IT?  Glad you asked:

bullet50% Fine oatmeal flour
bullet25% Nonfat milk
bullet20% Sugar
bullet5% Vitamins & Minerals

Atmit is now mass produced in Salt Lake City and distributed to third world countries worldwide........WOW, YOU GO, MARTA!




Chiles and garlic grown at Project Mercy are harvested, chopped and dried for use in the delicious soups served to the students every day for lunch.










The students have a part to play in lunch preparation, as well.  Most days they line up and each is given a bowl of lentils to sort.  There are small rocks that need to be removed and the children inspect the lentils first.  The cooks repeat the process before the lentils are added to the soup.








Every school day, THREE of these huge pots of soup are served.

Wood has to be chopped to keep the stove and ovens hot.








AND THEN, there is the bread given to each student with the soup for lunch.  The servings of bread look like large pancakes and you can see them on the griddle in this picture.








It is the SCALE of cooking that is hard to grasp!  Noel & Tamara pitched in to help one day and got a quick lesson from the regular cook as to how large each loaf of bread should be.  This huge tub only went down an inch or so after an hour of work...and the cook did the griddle part of the process!








Then Noel made the mistake
of glancing into the next room.

Yep, TWO more huge tubs
of batter...just for lunch for THAT day!


The bread is made 6 days a week.  That way, there is enough for the house kids to eat all weekend.













Noel was truly in his element and had so much fun helping out, as he routinely does!  The balls of dough he threw high in the air were almost always caught again....hahaha











Recruited helpers Lauren
and Abbie were less enthusiastic helpers and eventually we all returned to our assigned duties elsewhere

.....leaving this enormous daily task, once again, to just a few dedicated Ethiopian ladies.



I should note here that American and Italian food is made separately for American volunteers who are visiting Project Mercy.  Often guests are also served traditional Ethiopian dishes like Injera and Wat, fresh organic vegetables and fruit.  These same ladies make everything and one can only guess how long their days are!





This lady could be seen nearly every day
rocking this jar briskly back and forth.  I learned that she was making cottage cheese for us!




Words cannot express my gratitude for these wonderful women!


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