Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School lunch has evolved!

Corn dog day was my favorite of all of the days of the week!.  Those deep- fried treats we're made even more amazing by the five salty tater-tots resting at their sides.  I always avoided the limp green beans and sometimes even covered them with my napkin to keep from gagging at their ugliness.  I enjoyed the fruit cocktail that usually accompanied the meal, except for the slimy peeled grapes that could unfortunately be found in the mix of peaches and pears.  And my milk was always immediately tossed or if I was lucky, traded.... But never for precious tater-tots.  Those were too valuable to every elementary student!  oh, and all this would cost $1.15 per day, purchased in a sheet of 30 pink lunch tickets!!  This reminds me of one of my favorite jokes as a kid that went something like this...."what's the fastest animal in the world?"...... "an Etheopian with a Lunch-ticket"!  Terrible joke that everyone under 10 found hilarious in the 80's during the time of the "We are the World" hunger aid campaign in Africa.  I digress.
My point is, school lunch has changed.... At least here in Africa.  Here it does not consist of pushing a peach colored plastic tray along a counter while pre-measured servings of luke warm food is plopped into the tray segments by women wearing white smocks, saggy nylons and hair nets. It is done African-style!
We toured Logan and Alexis' new school a few days ago to prep them for the new year.  While touring AISA (american international academy of Abuja ) I asked about the cafeteria and how much the school lunch would cost.  The director replied that N1000 (1000 Naira) would probably do the trick.  New to the Naira, I didn't quite trust the conversion I figured out in my head..... If  $1 equals N160, then lunch would be about $7.00!  What the flip?!  Did she not realize we were in Africa where you should be able to by three bunches of bananas and some new sandals for a nickel?!  I was dumbfounded!  She did go on to clarify that that would buy a snack and drink as well, calming me down a bit.
Here is the interesting part though.  No trays, no tickets.... Lunch time brings 5-8 local food venders who have agreements with the school and have passed the rigid security requirements.  They come sell their wares on campus in little huts that look just like the open market I bought fruit in yesterday.  A Lebanese woman cooks on an open stove in one area, a Thai man apperantly makes noodles that are very popular with the students.  They have a vendor who recognized Muslim food requirements as well as a stand with traditional Nigerian Fare (like shawarma, which I will tell you about another time).
I am unclear as to how the buying and selling takes place.  I am imagining my Kindergartener who barely knows the worth of a dollar try to haggle for his lunch of hummus and kabbobs with Naira that are just as foreign to him as the flavors he will be trying!
To be on the safe side, I sent granola bars, fruit snacks and applesauce to keep them from being forced into the confusion too quickly!!!!
I will try to attach pictures when the Internet connection starts cooperating.
Other interesting facts about the first day of school madness
-kids are gone from 7:20 to 4:15.
-picked up in a large white van with a driver, monitor and armed guard... Gotta protect the driver from those crazy kids!
-school is 25% American kids, 30%Nigerians, 45% kids representing over 40 different countries.


  1. Diana, I am TOTALLY enjoying your blog, and your husband's writing skills. What an adventure you guys are having!

  2. We are having an adventure!! So fun! Sorry, but Tyson turned the blog duties over to me yesterday, so you're gonna have to put up with my ramblings from now on;)

  3. That is insane! I can just imagine those two little kids trying to decide which hut they want their food from today and then trying to actually purchase it. I can't believe that! And what the crap is up with the cost! You know there is no way that food costs that much. This is so awesome for your kids to be able to experience all of this fun, way different stuff, though. Love it!

  4. I have to say - - I really am impressed with Tyson's writing skills too! WOW! Great word choices makes the whole adventure even MORE vivid and fun! Oooh, I wish I could've been there to help your sweet little kids try to figure out lunch! By the way, Tys, I MADE your lunch nearly every day of your life - - what the heck did you do with it? And how'd you buy those corn dogs, huh??????

    1. Haha! I wrote that mom..... Me , Diana. I was the one buying corndogs

  5. Apparently, Diana, you two continue to be such a well-matched team - - I'll never be able to tell which of you is writing! Both have awesome writing skills and report in fabulous style!! You'll have to co-author a book from all your experiences ahead! And....just happy to know Tyson wasn't chucking all those school lunches all those years :) !