As we entered the last weekend of our Social Sabbatical South Africa program, I experienced one of most fulfilling social experiences of my life @Lobamba Neighborhood Care Point (NCP) in Swaziland.

The plan appreared simple, Since NCP does not have food for weekend, we had to carry and prepare meals for around 70 childrens.Having spend about 3 weeks in our Social Sabbatical program, we were starting to get hang of our activties but none of us knew what to expect from this.We all seemed charged and procured food items (raw chicken, salad materials,juices, onions, tomatoes) and headed to NCP with our friends from Young Heros Foundation.

We were greeted with love and affection @ NCP.After lots of hugs and close interaction with the kids,We started on the main objective of the day, prepare meal for the kids.

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Hard Realities of life started hitting us one by one :-

1. Scarcity of Water – Since it was pumped manually, it had to be used judiciously
2. Scarcity of other resources – No Cutting Boards, Knives without handle, Wood Fire to cook etc.
3. Unexpected Number of guests – Instead of 70,we had around 140 to feed (95 kids & 40 parents).

Luckily,We had bought a little extra food with the intention to leave some for later.The worry was not that we wont leave anything but “Will we be able to serve all?”.With 140 people waiting for meal,limited resources, limited cooking skills, we got the one of best lessons of life on time and people management.

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We split  ourselves in small groups with focus on key deliverables.

Group 1 – Salad Preparation, Cleaning Vessels
Group 2 – Chicken and Rice Preparation
Group 3 – Entertain the kids

‘Where there is a will, there is always a way’.

Together we pulled it off.In less then one hour, we had the salads,rice, chicken curry, juices ( As recommended by NCP Granny, we had to dilute it to create 140 glasses of drink).We served till the last drop left in the bowl. Though we could not taste our food but the smile on people’s faces said it all.

For me it was a memorable diwali (It was 2nd November, Eve of Diwali,Indian Festival of Lights), Instead of lighting candles and praying at home for wealth and prosperity, I was cooking meat for the hungry.The happiness on everyone’s face was reminiscent of a love and diwali celebration..

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