My name is Miriam Dinaya Manuel Ferreira. I am nine years old and doing Grade Five at Namialo Primary School in Nampula Province, Mozambique. I like school and I am studying hard to become a medical doctor. School meals are an important part of my day at school because we receive nutritious food that helps us to have energy and participate in class.
Before we started receiving hot meals at school, we were getting raw food which they said our parents should cook for us at home. It was difficult because many families didn’t have anything at home to help with the cooking, such as salt and oil. Some families even struggled to get some firewood to cook foods that took a long time to cook. Now we are all happy because the food is cooked here and we all eat at school, learn, and then go home and play.
On each school-day, the school provides rice and beans, thick maize meal porridge (xima, a staple food for many sub- Saharan African countries) served with either beans or cassava leaves (matapa). My favourite food is rice and beans because it’s healthier and tastes good. The cooks add some carrots, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, and onions to make the beans more nutritious and tastier. I appreciate the food but wish we could also eat some fish and meat on other days. I think that will improve the nutrition our bodies and minds need since we are still growing and learning.
Remember that food is what we eat because it improves our health. It is not just eating because we have a mouth, we eat because we know that this food will be good for us, it will take us far. For example, fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish are particularly good for our health, especially that of children whose families struggle to make ends meet and cannot afford to buy nutritious foods. When they go home, they do odd jobs to contribute to their family income. They help people carry some bags, cans, and plastics to earn some money to give to their parents. Sometimes they work on people’s farms, and it hurts to see them working hard to help raise money for their upkeep, when they are just children supposed to be taken care of. But it is good that they can come to school to eat and learn. Despite our different backgrounds, we eat the same food together and we are all happy. Sometimes they even take some food home to give to their siblings and parents. I find that sad. I would like to advise those with a lot of food to remember the poor and share their food.