(Author: Carly S)
This week here at Eat United we were lucky enough to have a wonderful group of young people from the United States come along and help us out for a day.
The students, mostly high-school students from Oregon, were in Nicaragua for a week as part of a project with the organisation Seeds of Learning. Their main objective was to assist with the building of a learning kiosk in a school in a rural community outside Managua. This learning kiosk will house donations of school supplies, computers and toys for children in the community.
We are thrilled that they were able to take some time off from this worthwhile project and come and give us a hand and see what Eat United is all about.
We all met bright and early at Mercardo Mayoreo and morning began with introductions and a talk with the students about who we are and what we do. As founder Katie explained,
“At Eat United we believe food poverty and food waste should not co-exist and so we work to rescue food that would otherwise be unnecessarily wasted and share it with food insecure communities”.
The students had an opportunity to ask any questions, then we divided into two groups and got down to the business of rescuing food. The kids were a great help, they were straight in there, carrying and sorting food and helping to load the van. Everyone was great, not afraid to get their hands dirty and always with a smile. It was great for the students to see how market life is in Nicaragua and we appreciated the extra pairs of hands.
Students helping to fill bellies not bins.
We collected more food than we usually do so I think you all must have acted as a bit of a lucky charm for us. We appreciate all your hard-work and enthusiasm guys.
Members of the group remarked they were surprised at the quality of the food rescued. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect” said one student, “but all the food we collected today looks great.”
Loading up the van
With our van loaded up with yummy, healthy, rescue foods we headed off to the first of the communities we work with, with the students following closely behind.
Eat United Nicaragua is currently working with 3 communities around Managua. 'Ananda Marga' - a primary school for children of low income background, Villa Guadalupe; a new urbanisation built to re-house the people who were living off the dump 'La Chureca' and a community of ex-sugar cane workers suffering from chronic kidney failure, caused by over-exposure to pesticides and chemicals used during the course of their work.
Distributing food at Ananda Marga School
Making friends at Villa Guadalupe
Distributing food at the ex-cane workers camp
The students were able to see how life is in these three communities and help Eat United with food distribution.
In Villa Guadalupe, community leader, Maria, talked to the students about life in Villa Guadalupe and the problems face in this community. Unemployment sits at around 40% here and almost all families qualify as very low on the food security scale, which is the lowest possible ranking.
Second from the right, Maria explaining to students about life in Villa Guadalupe.
“We have been working in a more rural area” said one of the students, “seeing how people live here is a different kind of poverty. It can be hard hearing people’s stories and seeing how they live.”
When asked to describe how they felt about their day with us, one of the students described it as “Impactful. It has been great seeing how a small organisation can make such a difference to people’s lives.”
Thanks for your help guys. We loved having you along and we hope you enjoyed your day with us and learned a little more about issues of food waste and hunger. Keep in touch.