The best part of being part of daily life at Veronica home was the meals.
There were rice, beans and maize, kale and cabbage, potato soup. And on Saturday morning there was chai and mandazi (Kenyan donuts!)
Without refrigeration all of the meals were made fresh and required many hands. I took such delight in sitting around a table with children sorting through beans or maize, removing small stones and twigs. We sat in the shade of a tree or on in the indoor kitchen with everyone chopping kale that had just been picked from the garden. Doing these things together made our connection to the meals that much stronger.
Meal times are an important part of life at Veronica - breakfast and supper placed exactly 12 hours apart so that the children could take their medications on full stomachs. Children on ARV's (antiretroviral drugs) require substantial meals, but also healthy ones. And thus the meals at Veronica have more variety than one might find elsewhere in the villages.
Joseph and Eunice, the house parents, were so gracious, so welcoming, and clearly so happy to be feeding us. While I didn't want us to be served anything different than what they would normally eat, I know that there were a few treats snuck in - that bag of peanuts with white bread and butter was just for us I'm sure!
It is true that my Canadian children grew weary of our diet at Veronica Home, but I know they would give anything to be sitting in that living room one more time - all 20 of us with our plates balanced on our laps, eating with our hands, the puppy and the cat scampering underfoot looking for scraps, all of us laughing about the events of the day and loving the fact that we were all together.