Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweet prawn dish for Tembari children

Volunteer mothers cook rice in a makeshift drum-stove.

Volunteer mothers lift a newly cooked especial soup.

Engr Joe Buenaventura helps the kids get water from a water cooler.

Penny Sagembo, TCC co-founder, supervising the children’s hands washing before eating their lunch.

Kids sip their steaming hot soup before the main course of prawn and rice, cordial and milk.

Kids enjoy their special lunch of prawn dish and rice.

Preschoolers eat their lunch inside their classroom.

Kids trying to get their nth serving of the special soup.

Children try to retrieve some leftover soup from the pot.

A Friend of Tembari Children

LAST Saturday was the second in a row in which the Tembari kids enjoyed a special dish cooked with prawn.

And according Thomas Kuo, regular donor of frozen prawn, this marine product is packed with protein which our children badly need.

Thomas is the general manager of High Energy Co, a Port Moresby-based fishing company and exporter of frozen marine products. He committed to supply us frozen fish on a regular basis.

He used to send frozen whole medium-sized mackerel which I would cook for the kids on Saturdays. But we had a sad experience with this.

One recent Saturday during lunch, three of our small kids choked on the tiny fish bones, up to the point that they vomited. And this alarmed us a bit. Used to eating tinned fish only, most of our very young kids did not know how to eat real fish – the one that Thomas sent.

I relayed to him about the incident and he promised to find a good substitute.

He came up with frozen prawn, also one of their export products, which I then cooked in some special ways.

The first time, and that was the previous Saturday, I cooked it in coconut milk, spices and pumpkin – ala-Filipino style.

It was a good one and healthful at that.

Yesterday, I cooked it with a lot of curry powder, oyster sauce, pasta tomato sauce, potatoes and carrots.

It was matched with a special chunky soup concoction of diced carrots, tomato pasta sauce, minced beef and special seasoning.

The 80 kids (out of the 97 in our roster) who came for lunch yesterday, were all delighted, having experienced a new flavor.

And of course, the soup. They tried to have their nth serving, but the 30 liters of soup that I prepared was dried up quite quickly. A big hit among them, indeed!

I made it a point to have soup because the kids have looked forward to having it every Saturday.

Thinking all about this, I realized that the Tembari children are very lucky.

This is because their diet has improved a lot since January when I started my special Saturday cooking them.

Before that, they used to have meals four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They were only having kaukau, sliced bread and cordial drink. In between, I did not know what they ate at home with their guardians.

Thanks to our generous benefactors, our children are now eating proper meals everyday, from Monday to Saturday. Their meals consist of rice, tinned fish and veggies, cordial drink and milk.

The Saturday lunch is quite special because it is being sponsored by individuals who pay for the ingredients. And I am the one cooking it this time.

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