The Art Of Cooking…For A Village
As you thank God for every meal that He provides each day, have you ever considered how enough food for approximately 300 children plus aunties arrives on time, three times a day, every day of the week? As a kitchen Supervisor, Stabile Murambiwa fulfills her responsibilities formidably. Not only does she have to ensure that there is always adequate food on the shelves, but also that the food is prepared and delivered to the correct venue at the right time, and that the food is tasty! A Herculean task for most people, Stabile takes it all in her stride.
Stabile arrived in Bulembu in 2008 when her husband – Augustine – was working at the Bulembu country Lodge. Declining a job as an aunty because she wanted to live at home with her husband, she has been a volunteer, a cleaner and a painter. Upon interviewing for the job as a kitchen supervisor, she was promptly given the position in January of 2012. The beginning was no walk in the park for her, with long hours and days that started in darkness of 3am. The first two weeks she was tempted to quit, but her husband’s encouragement inspired her to persevere. And we are ever grateful that she did! Stabile has since become an unmistakable and devoted part of the Bulembu family.
Stabile goes shopping once a month at the Boxer Store in Piggs Peak for groceries, toiletries and other food – which includes rice and mealie meal. Upon enquiring about the shopping required, she shared some of what it takes to feed nearly 300 children and aunties. Here are just some of the things that you would find on Stabile’s monthly shopping list:
- 20 x 50kg bags of mealie meal (1,000kg)
- 300 x of 400g tinned fish
- 2,880 eggs
- 60kg peanut butter
- 24 crates of oranges
- 20 boxes of apples
- 720 rolls of toilet paper
- 25 x 5 litres of liquid soap
- 25 x 5 litres of pine gel (multi-purpose bathroom cleaner)
The first week of the month, Stabile also purchases what she calls her “Big Five”:
- 20 bags of butternut squash
- 20 bags of potatoes
- 20 bags of carrots
- 10 bags of onions
- 10 bags of beetroot
The third week, these amounts are reduced to 10 bags each of squash, potatoes and carrots, and 5 bags each of onions and beetroot.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are bought on a weekly basis, some of which will be from the locals. However, their growing vegetable garden – with its drip system – helps significantly to supply the needs of the kitchen. In this regard, Solomon Khosa certainly deserves a special mention, as his gardening skills contribute greatly to the success of the vegetable gardens! Some vegetables are also received from the hydroponic system, especially tomatoes.
With a staff of only five ladies, much time was previously spent on chopping the vegetables for meals. However, with the help of a brand new chopping machine, this task has been made much more efficient and less time-consuming.
In terms of the supply of other items on the menu, Stabile also shared how these make their way to the childrens’ tummies:
- Breakfast varies between oats, pap, putu and soft porridge. One breakfast alone requires 50 litres of milk and about 15kg of oats!
- For lunches, the kitchen goes through 660 loaves of bread every week, which is all baked by our very own Bulembu Bakery! Every sandwich goes to the children with a fruit – either an apple, orange, banana or some dried fruit.
- For meat, an ox is slaughtered every three months, cut up and frozen into different packages for later use. Thanks to donated butchery equipment, they can even grind their own mince!
- Sunday certainly delivers a favourite meal for everyone – chicken & vegetables. This meal comprises of 33 chickens, 35kg rice, 30kg beetroot, 5kg carrots and 2kg mixed vegetables – all for just that one meal!
Grateful mention has to be made to all who donate dry vegetable soup mix, jams, dried fruit, and bath soap to Bulembu. This really helps out significantly with the supplies!
Let’s remember to pray and be thankful for Stabile and her staff in the Central Kitchen, as they tackle the daily challenges of supplying meals for the children and caregivers in Bulembu, with remarkable joy and heartiness.
Thank you, Stabile, for a job well done!
By Lesley Shirk