29 Apr 2014 18:20pm
DRC SOUP KITCHEN OFFERS COMFORT
By Pearl Coetzee
(NAMPA FEATURES SERVICE)
SWAKOPMUND, 29 APR (NAMPA) The smell of vegetables and soup is overwhelming from the kitchen door. A small female figure inside the makeshift room is stirring a big aluminium pot with a wooden spoon.
She introduces herself as Elfrieda Oaes, also known as Ouma (grandmother) to the children there, and she is the head chef of the soup kitchen situated in Swakopmunds DRC informal settlement. Her assistant, Justine Uiras, takes her place next to the stove and pours water into the pot while Oaes stirs continuously. The two prepare a meal for about 150 children daily.
They joined Pastor George McNab and his wife Marie three months ago in preparing meals for the children.
Every day from Monday to Friday, children in the settlement receive a bowl of soup as well as bread as from 13h00. On Saturdays and Sundays, they receive bread and yoghurt.
The soup kitchen also serves macaroni, chicken and meat off-cuts, as well as cake on the odd occasion, to the children.
Oaes survived a stroke in 2008, and has devoted her time to community service since then.
Speaking to Nampa recently, she said she is doing what she loves the most - serving the community. Despite her blessings at the kitchen, she however complained about the cooking pots being too small to prepare food on a daily basis. The tables in the kitchen used in the preparation of the meals are made out of planks and cardboard. Plates, cutlery and glasses are also in short supply, she said.
Children have to bring their own plates to get their meals. Plates need to be washed before the children eat out of it, and this can take long. They sit in a small room adjacent to the kitchen on rocks while waiting for their food.
Everybody gets a plate of food here. They are our children and we need to take care of them, Oases said.
A commotion erupted as Pastor George McNab arrived with the bread and the young ones rushed to take a seat in the room. Oaes and Uiras called for order before handing over the plates of food one-by-one.
According to McNab, the kitchen exists to demonstrate God's heart for the hungry and homeless in Swakopmund. He said hunger can take both a physical and emotional toll on those it affects. In order to serve the community and its people, he decided to build a kitchen which forms part of the makeshift church Maranatha Gospel Service as from 2011 to address food shortages in the settlement.
We receive donations from Good Samaritans to provide a meal to these children every day. For many of them, this is the only meal for the day. We are so blessed to be able to help the needy in the DRC, he added.
Shoprite, Spar, Shell and a number of individuals make donations to the kitchen on a daily basis.