Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Before the storm

Veg Here I am thinking a lot about Ms El, Zee, Sunflower, everyone at their school and in their neighbourhood. I got sent this post before the storm Sandy hit. I hope they are all ok and we hear from them soon.

Today’s “A” lunch option was grilled cheese. I realize we have not been describing our lunches in much detail, so I will try to fix that with today’s meal. I have been eating the school lunch with the children this week. “American Cheese” is a little hard to describe. Some people insist it is not cheese at all, but a processed dairy product. It is creamy and salty, and it melts very smoothly, but it doesn’t have any strong “cheese-y” or sharp flavor. The whole wheat bread is very soft and toasts up nicely in the oven. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and sweet; I tried the ranch dressing dip that the children were offered with the tomatoes, but I preferred them plain. And, the peaches were very good. I remember canned peaches being too sweet when I bought school lunch as a kid (I grew up nearby in Queens, New York City), but the peaches schools serve no longer come in heavy syrup. They’re canned in juice and water. I am not, and never have been a milk drinker. I drank it the first three days of our project, but I couldn’t stomach it yesterday, so I had a water.

“This sandwich is too hot.”
Zee opened his bag of “veggie straws” from home, and ate that for the rest of the lunch period. With a lot of coaxing he took a nibble of cheese from inside his sandwich. I took a peek at the label on the veggie straws. They are mostly made of potato flour and starch, they’re doesn’t seem to be much to them. I don’t really have an opinion on how “healthy” or “un-healthy,” this snack is. I can tell you that I’ve had them before, and I definitely would not have been full enough after lunch. But, Zee did not seem to be hungry.
The weather has been a little wet in New York this week. The children had a relaxed indoor recess period before lunch. They definitely eat more of their lunches when they run around before coming into the cafeteria. Zee’s class also had a snack break sometime in the morning. I’m sure his parents sent him in with a large morning snack.
“My lunch today was healthy. I ate some cheese. I forgot to drink my milk. But, my lunch was healthy because I had vegetable chips.”

The Veggie Straws are a snack from home.

Food-o-meter: “4/10”
Health meter: “8/10”
Price: $2.60 (£1.62) for students $3.75 (£2.34) for adults (some students are eligible for reduce-fare or free lunch).
Recess: Indoor “I played checkers with my friends inside.”

Sunflower- “Today the grilled cheese was good. It took 20 bites to eat. The peaches are good and the tomatoes are [takes a bite, gives me the thumbs up sign] good. The chips I have aren’t healthy, but I bought them because my sister got some too and she likes them.” Sunflower also did not drink her milk. She did finished her entire sandwich and a good portion of the sides.

Food-o-meter: “10/10”
Health meter: “6/10”
Price: $2.60 (£1.62) for students $3.75 (£2.34) for adults (some students are eligible for reduce-fare or free lunch).
Recess: Indoor “We went to the playroom. I made paper airplanes. My sister taught me how to make them. She learnt from other kids in her class.”

Monday, 29 October 2012

Brunch for Lunch

Hi Neverseconds readers,

Before I get to today’s lunch I wanted to give readers a little bit of background information about school lunch in the United States. Many, if not most, public schools in this country participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSPL) run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many not-for-profit private schools use this program as well. The NSPL estimates it feeds about 31 million children under the age of 18, many of them for free. From what I understand, the USDA gives food as well as monetary subsidies to schools participating NSPL. However, the federal government is NOT picking out the meals for every school. The USDA sets guidelines every school must follow. This school year (2012-2013) the USDA increased the amount of fruit and vegetable servings children must receive. They also made changes to incorporate more whole grains into lunches, and set sodium limits. There are food vendors approved by the USDA that school districts can use to buy the food for lunches. Schools can also receive “bonus” foods from the USDA when there is an agricultural surplus.
You can see the site and learn more about school lunch in our country here:

Today at our school we had “Brunch for Lunch,” Lunch servings included mini whole grain maple flavored waffles, sweet potato bites, turkey sausage, milk, and a banana. Zee was very, very excited to get school lunch. He is one enthusiastic kid. But, Sunflower brought her own lunch from home. She was also happy with her meal.

“Waffles! Waffles are the best! Ms. El, they’re YUM!! (Takes a bite,) Mmmm…” Zee was busily dipping his waffles in syrup, and I had to prompt him to tell me about lunch today. “I like syrup; it’s so good. Can I have more syrup?” I answered “no” without checking the actual rules (the syrup comes in a little plastic tub. The ingredients are corn syrup, water, and some coloring). “I am not going to eat the sausage or the sweet potatoes [this is said with a disgusted expression]. I only like waffles and the strawberry milk because I like strawberries.”
Zee drank about half his milk. I ended up wearing the rest of it.

Food-o-meter: 7/10
Mouthfuls: We’re not sure, but I think my clothes contain at least 10 sips.
Health meter: Zee told me, “Very healthy, I don’t know what number.”
Recess: Indoors in the gymnasium. We played games with the giant parachute.
Price: $2.60 (£1.62) for students $3.75 (£2.34) for adults (some students are eligible for reduce-fare or free lunch).

“I have tomatoes today. And, I have a bologna sandwich and chocolate milk and fruit snacks. My mom made my lunch, I like it. I have regular white bread.”
I asked what she would’ve bought if her mother hadn’t made her a lunch. “I would’ve had waffles, not the chicken patty even though I like chicken. I like the waffles and the sausage. My sister [twin] says the sausage is spicy.”

Food-o-meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: I forgot to ask Sunflower to keep count
Health meter: 8/10
Recess: Same as Zee.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Chicken Nuggets are an extremely popular lunch choice at our school. This is going to be a very chicken-y week. Monday the lunch “A” option is chicken nuggets, and the “B” lunch for the week is a breaded chicken patty on a bun. There will be one more chicken entrĂ©e Thursday, as well. On any given day about a third of the students at our school opt to receive the school lunch. The rest of the students bring a lunch from home to the cafeteria. On the first day of the school week (usually Monday, unless there is a school holiday) the “A” lunch is always chicken nuggets, and on the last day of the week (Friday) the cafeteria always serves a variation of pizza. There tends to be a higher number of children buying lunch on those two days.

I interviewed Sunflower and Zee at lunch today-

Sunflower: “Chicken nuggets are healthy because they are made of chicken and chicken is good for you. I like all healthy things. The applesauce I had is delicious! I didn’t eat the potatoes because I know I don’t like them. I only like the kind of potatoes that my mom makes. She doesn’t put all this stuff [herbs] on it.”

Sunflower also ate her corn, and drank her chocolate milk. She did not eat the roll, and she didn’t comment on it.

Zee- “My stomach hurts today. [Zee had some sort of mishap or misunderstanding involving the playground, rules, and appropriate first grade behavior. As a result he was very upset when he first came in to lunch. He eventually regained his appetite and was able to tell me about lunch.] I like chicken nuggets. At home I like to eat barbeque chicken. I don’t like the corn here because I only like corn still on the oval [cob]. I’m not hungry for the bread. And, I only eat potatoes that are french-fries.

Food-o-meter: 9/10
Health: 6/10 (Ms. El pointed out that their trays were not very colorful today, so they knocked off a few points).
Recess: We played outside on the playground equipment for recess. That’s my favorite recess (Sunflower).
Price: $2.60 (£1.62) for students $3.75 (£2.34) for adults (some students are eligible for reduce-fare or free lunch).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Well done Blod! Hello Long Island!

First a thank you to Harshi for all her brilliant posts. You live in India and I live in Scotland yet we both love cheese! One of my favourite's is Gouda and you have it in your photograph. I don't know why everyone in the photo is looking away. I would be staring at the cheese! The school dinners from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are my favourites but I will add your Indian food as well now because it looks so tempting to try. I like your expression "Every morsel of food you waste today represents hunger later in your life". It has made me think. Thank you. If you are in Germany, France (do you have snails at school), Denmark or Spain please ask your teacher to help you guest blog for a week!

We have been fund raising in school this week as well for Mary's Meals. We've already had sales of porridge, flapjacks and oatcakes. Mr Kipling wrote to me offering to send me some cakes because I won the Observer Award. I asked if I could sell them at a cake stall for Mary's Meals and he said yes. They were meant to arrive today but haven't but I hope they arrive tomorrow early so I can add them to the cake stall. We are also having a non uniform day like Blod but I don't know if we will raise more than your £150! Thank you everyone at Ysgol Kingsland and well done Blod's mum!

Joe, Polly and I gave a presentation at school today about Mary's Meals and Malawi. A lady from Mary's Meals came as well. It was nice to do it with my brother and sister because I wasn't alone. We got help with the microphone as we are all different heights. My headteacher gave me a certificate in a wooden frame to say well done. I went a little red.

I am going to the Halloween School disco tonight dressed as dad! That's scary enough I think.

Our next guest bloggers are from Long Island, New York.


Hi Veg! I’m Ms. El and I work in a school on Long Island, New York. This public school only has three grades in it: Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade. I asked a couple of our First grade students if they would like to tell you about their lunches for a week. They enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Zee and Sunflower.

“Hi! My name is Sunflower and I am 6. I am in first grade, and I like to play with my brothers, (Ms. El asked, “What about your twin?”) and alright, my sister too. So far my favorite part of first grade is outdoor recess. Today I had pizza for lunch. I had an apple, cheese crackers, and my drink was chocolate milk. I like this pizza because when I tried it, it was good. Because it’s not very sweet. Sometimes the pizza is sweet, but I like it not too sweet. I had a cardboard tray it has a lot of little spaces on it, and one big space. The apple is super healthy!”

“Hi, my name is Zee, and I am 6 too. I am in the same class as Sunflower in first grade. My favorite part of first grade is playing in Centers (On special days, the first graders can have some free choice playtime, Zee likes the small wooden geometric blocks). Pizza is the best food that I like. Because the cheese is so good. First I ate my apple. I ate it first because apples are my favorite fruit. Water is better than milk because water is more healthier. (At this point the children at Zee’s lunch table discussed the health benefits of water. One boy told the table, “Water keeps our kidneys safe.” And, another child announced, “Water is the healthiest drink on earth.”) I got the Pop-tart because I like cinnamon, but I didn’t get to eat it. I’m going to eat it at home today.”

Zee and Sunflower:
Food-o-meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: Sunflower ate her entire pizza, she counted 53 bites.
Health meter: 7/10
Recess: Indoor, it was raining. We watched a video about children with food allergies so we know not to share food with each other. Sometimes if it’s raining we play crab-soccer.
Price: $2.60 (£1.62) for students $3.75 (£2.34) for adults (some students are eligible for reduce-fare or free lunch).

I (Ms. El) had a school lunch as well. I chose pizza just like Zee and Sunflower.

The lettuce salad had cucumbers and carrots in it, and the chickpeas were dressed with red onion and herbs. I chose an orange over the apple and fat-free milk. The kids had these options as well. They must have one fruit serving and one vegetable. The US government famously ruled last fall that tomato sauce on pizza is to be counted as a vegetable serving. So, both Zee and Sunflower had their fruit and vegetable serving today. The cheese crackers, Pop-tart, and water bottle were not included in the price of lunch; their parents allow them to buy extra snacks today.

French bread whole wheat crust Pizza was the “A” lunch option today. The “B” lunch offered was Turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread. The cafeteria also offers peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, and salad every day.

The lunch line:

We had so much fun writing about our lunch experience! Can’t wait to tell you about lunch tomorrow.

Ms. El, Sunflower, and Zee.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

We're back and we've been busy!


I've seen that you have been very busy. I bet that going to Africa was amazing! I thought I'd write to tell you what we've been doing since the time I helped with your blog. It feels like ages ago now, back when I was in Year 4.

There was some really good news in the summer holidays, because my Mam was named the Anglesey Primary School Cook of the Year! On the first day back in school, my headmaster gave her a gold medal just like people in the Olympics! I thought it was real gold at first but when I held it I realised it was plastic!

Last week we sold porridge at break time to raise money for Mary's Meals. I liked the porridge. I have sent you a picture of me eating it. There was syrup on the spoons to make it sweet. I think the School Council are going to ask if we can have porridge in our Breakfast Club because everybody liked it.

Today is the last day before the school holidays. We always have a special theme day at the end of term. Today was French day! We dressed up and had a special menu at lunchtime. You can see a picture of me in my fancy dress here:

I have sent you a picture of my dinner. We had Parisienne Chicken Pasta. I know pasta is from Italy, but we get more choice this way. I like pasta. It came with veg and salad and Parmentier Potatoes (cheesy roasted cubes!). I had some garlic bread too. For pudding we had Apple Tart with Creme Anglaise (I think that is French for custard!). There was fresh fruit too, but I wanted the tart. It was lovely!

We've kept the best news until last. All the children paid so that they didn't have to wear school uniform, and our School Council members decided that the money will go to Mary's Meals. Mr Roberts is going to pay it straight into your justgiving account. I don't know exactly how much it will be, but usually we raise over a hundred pounds!

Keep up the good work!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Goodbye and thanks from Harshi

Hey guys Harshi here!

This is my last post for NeverSeconds and I want to thank Veg again for the opportunity. Congratulation on the award veg!

Today I want to say a few words about Childhood Obesity. Obesity is as harmful as malnutrition. While malnutrition can be countered by providing more healthy food, obesity is harder to counter.This is because when there are lots of foods to choose from, picking out the healthy ones requires a lot of self control. The First step towards battling obesity is gaining knowledge about healthy foods and the problems arising from obesity. This gives us the strength to say "NO!" to that extra slice of Pizza. The increasing use of gadgets among children promotes a sedentary life style. So we have to make sure that we include lots of physical activity in our daily routine.

Today my lunch includes multi grains.
Pesarattu - It is a dosa made with whole green grams.And it was spicy. It has a high protein content. You can call them green gram pancakes. I had them with yoghurt. Then I had some stir fried beans and beets. They are spiced up with pepper. I love vegetables! Usually I have to stay in school for after-school sports which for me is table tennis. So I need something to eat for the evenings. So I got a vegetable spring roll and a multi grain cupcake. My mom made the cake with flour which contains 4 or more grains, Raisins and cashews. In India we call the flour "Saththu mavu" which means nutritive flour. The grains are Ragi, Maize, Wheat, Bajra . This flour is mixed with usual cake flour to make the cake. It was not as soft as the cake made with white flour. But it tastes just as good. Usually while eating me and my friends share our food.

Mouthfuls - 40
Health rating- 10/10
Courses- Main/ snack
Pieces of hair- none.

Monday, 22 October 2012

An Indian story again by Harshi.

In India there is a saying,"Every morsel of food you waste today represents hunger later in your life"--Although it seems a bit harsh, elders quote this to children who waste their food and the children gradually learn to respect food and to never waste it.

We all know that food shortage is a huge problem in the world. 1/3 of the food produced across the globe is wasted from which millions of starving people can be fed. This wastage is due to poorly managed supply chains and includes household wastage too. As children what can we do? We can do great help from our side, like taking only the food we can eat, this ensures that no food is wasted. When we think of wasting our food because we don't like it, we should take a moment to think about the starving kids who are badly in need of food. We should grow strong in order to help others. So eat healthy food without wasting it and remember to be thankful for the food you get! I think Martha is doing a great job, helping starving kids around the globe and raising awareness about them.

Today's lunch is Idiyappam- A typical South Indian rice noodle dish. It is different from its Chinese counterpart. It is prepared freshly from fresh rice dough and is cooked in steam. Noodles in the small compartment is sweet, it was mixed with sugar, ghee, and grated coconut. The noodle cakes in the other one are plain . I had them with the vegetable stew. The vegetable stew had carrots, potatoes, and turnips. All the veggies are cooked with coconut milk and lot of spices whose names I don't know. Spicy stew with plain Idiyappam is very yummy!
The fruit for the day was the Custard apple. It doesn't taste like apple nor does it taste like custard! It has a cluster of black seeds covered by a thin white layer of fruit. Though I like the taste of the fruit I find it difficult to eat the fruit.

Food-o-meter- 8/10 (bored with custard apple)
Mouthfuls- 50
Health meter- 8/10 (less protein)
Pieces of hair- 0 (lucky as always)


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Observer Food Monthly Awards 2012

Dad said I could blog about the award on Friday but I thought it was still a secret until it was in the Observer Food Magazine today. The ceremony was in London and I was given the award by Gizzi Erskine and Jay Rayner.

There was a big round of applause and some people stood up. It was very kind of everyone. I am glad I didn't have to say anything into the microphone because I was very nervous. Lots of people wished me congratulations afterwards. I was very lucky to win and Hollow Legs
and James Ramsden were in the final with me. I think I won because of all the children who will get a school dinner from Mary's Meals because of the blog.

I think dad recognised more people at the party than me but he didn't know everybody. I tried lots of different foods afterwards and really liked the Jhal Muri but I needed water afterwards because it was spicy! My favourite person to meet was John who won the Great British Bake Off. He was lovely.

I talked to so many people about Malawi and Mary's Meals that I went to bed really late and fell asleep on a minister's sofa in the Foreign Office on Friday. It was worth it though. I am home now and the plate is above my kitchen door. It is next to a mouse and a home made fish. I like it there.


Harshi here again!

I can't believe that I am posting in NeverSeconds for the third time in a row and still have two more to go! I was very excited to read all the comments on my post. Some one mistook me to be the small girl refusing veggies in my previous post, that was my junior!

Today we had Navarathri celebrations here at our school. Navarathri is celebrated to worship the nine forms of the goddess Devi. Synonymous with Navarathri is the Golu, an exhibition of dolls and figurines, which are always placed in an odd number of steps. Golus are customary here in Tamil Nadu, the state I live in. After a good lunch we had a Dandiya dance by all the students and teachers of our school as a part of the celebration. It was loads of fun!

My lunch had a theme today - The Indian flag. The saffron in our flag represents Courage & sacrifice. The white stands for peace while the green colour stands for Prosperity. The blue wheel in the middle has 24 spokes exactly and represents Righteousness.

For lunch, I had Idly or rather, 'mini' Idly, since the original Idly is about 4 times the size of these ones. Idly is a south-Indian dish eaten by most of the south-Indians daily. Idlies are made from a batter of rice and lentils. The green coloured ones you see were topped with coriander/cilantro chutney.
The orange/saffron coloured idlies were topped with tomato chutney. My mom added garlic to change the colour of tomatoes from red to orange. The original idlies are the white ones in the middle. There should be a blue colour wheel in the middle according to the flag. Mom felt sorry for not being able to include that here. The fruit was papaya which was juicy and luscious, The snack was mixture, an Indian savoury. It was crispy, and tasted sweet and sour, as the name suggests, its a mixture of many savouries and is a real favourite of mine.

Food-o-meter -10/10
Mouthfuls - 40
Health ratings - 9/10 (Less veggies)
Courses - main/snack
Pieces of hair -0

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The One Show

On Monday Dad and I went to the One Show to meet Jamie Oliver. We arrived at the studio at 5pm. Everyone was really nice and we had a look at the control room where there are lots of screens. When I met Matt he was ironing his shirt and we talked about Malawi and our sheep. Alex was getting ready and we chatted. I was fine talking without cameras. The rehearsal was really hard and I got very nervous especially when I saw myself on the film with Louise. They turned the screens around so I couldn't see them.

This is the Green room where you wait and there are pictures on the wall of some of the people that have been on the show. We got changed and went to make up. I didn't need any but Dad got some powder on his face and chest. I don't think I was meant to meet Jamie Oliver until we were on television but maybe because I was nervous he came and said hello. He is so nice and easy to talk to. Dad and Jamie talked about school dinners and I talked about Malawi.

A lady with an earphone over one ear came and told us we had 1 minute to go and we went and stood in the audience. I was so nervous and I wasn't sure I could do it.

One Show- Meeting Jamie Oliver

When I went on Jamie, Matt and Alex applauded me. They showed the film I did with Louise and a clip from Malawi. Dad and I forgot to mention our book for Mary's Meals and then Jamie had a huge surprise for me! A basket of cooking things that I love. When I was on the train yesterday I was asked if it was the famous basket from the One Show and I nodded. I have only just watched it all on iPlayer because it's difficult to see yourself on TV and I can remember how nervous I was. It seems silly to have been nervous now and I enjoyed chatting to everyone after the show.

Dad and I went to Union Jack's after the show and the food was brilliant. The best bit was the heritage potatoes which tasted like ours at home. I've missed our potatoes.

We couldn't watch the documentary live because it was only on in Scotland. I hope it goes onto YouTube or iPlayer Global so everyone can see it. It is very very good.

iPlayer Link

It was great to see Pavlova in it! We tried to Skype for the One Show film but it didn't work. It was a lovely surprise to see her. Also Courtney from the USA who is trying to raise enough for a kitchen also.

I am going back to London today but am looking forward to going home and trying some of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals. One lady took an hour and a half to make one. I hope I don't.


A home packed meal today

Hi everyone, It is Harshi again. I forgot to say one thing yesterday, I am 12 years old, and study in 8th grade which is 7th grade in the USA.
I want to tell you how much importance we Indians give to fresh, home cooked food.

Mumbai is one of the biggest cities in North India. People need to travel two to three hours to go to their schools or offices. But they've found a way to get their home cooked food. The Dabbawalas. Clad in complete white, 5000 men take up the job of delivering lunch boxes to offices and schools across the city. It is amazing that they deliver about 200,000 lunch boxes a day! The Forbes magazine has given them a 99.999% in accuracy of delivery! The top business schools are analysing their supply system. Prince Charles wished to meet these people and was thrilled to know about their work. Here I've attached a link to let you know about the mind blowing lunch box delivery system of Mumbai.

Today I had home packed lunch. It is wheat Chappathi or you can call it a Roti. After Rice it is the main alternative food. It Tastes a bit like Tortillas.

Apple and Onion salad with yoghurt and little pepper to spice it up. It was good. The Potatoes are oven baked. It was a fusion of different tastes, with Italian and Indian herbs. Yummy. I had it with Baby bell Dutch cheese (from Holland). It was wonderful. For me the love for cheese started from Alkmaar in Holland.

The cheese paradise of the world.

Food-o-Meter- 10/10
Mouthful - 45
Course - Main
Health rating- 10/10
Pieces of hair - 0

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Hello Harshi from India

Hey guys,
This is Harshitha Narayani (Call me Harshi) from India.Thanks to veg and NeverSeconds for the opportunity to write.

I am from Chennai, South India. India is a big country and it is divided in to 28 states and 7 union territories. Though each state has different cuisines and culture, we Indians prefer freshly cooked food over tinned food.
So the availability of tinned food is low. Indians mostly do not prefer meat daily. So there is a restriction in most of the schools in bringing non veg food to school.

Before going on to the school lunch, I'll brief you guys about my school and our hygienic eco friendly kitchen. Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam ( Vidyalayam means Temple of education) is my school. Here we we have a specific
and strict uniform dress code.Despite being a modern school, it strictly follows Indian culture. We call teachers 'ACHARYA'. In the kitchen the helpers are known as' AAYA AMMA' ( Means caring mothers) to us. They prepare the food for students and teachers. To thank them we students throw a Thanksgiving party every year. For a change they sit back and relax and we do cooking with the help of
teachers and parents.

The main coarse for lunch is rice always. And different kinds of lentils are used in our food for rich protein. We had Sambar (You can call it as lentil soup.) and it has to be mixed with rice to be eaten. And the vegetable name is Snake gourd. Don't be afraid. It is the name of the vegetable! It is also cooked with some lentils and coconut. Curd (yoghurt) is to be mixed with rice to be eaten after Sambar rice. We had sweet called Kesari made with fine semolina (A product of wheat) and ghee .

Every day we have a sweet. And of-course buttermilk to wash down. Curd and buttermilk on a daily basis is needed for the extreme Indian climates. As you would have observed no preservatives or pre- packed stuff is added to our foods. Aerated drinks are strictly not allowed with the food.

Food-o-meter- 10 /10
Mouthfuls- Did'nt count.
So time taken- 15 min.
Health rating - 8/10 (Ghee in sweet)
Price - Paid with school fees.
Pieces of hair - 0

Monday, 15 October 2012

Some News Reports.

Veg's Dad Here

Just wanted to share some news reports that went out when we were in Malawi from the BBC Scotland news team.

At 7pm today we're live on the BBC One Show and will be meeting up with Jamie Oliver and discussing our Malawi trip. Immediately after at 7.30pm on BBC1 Scotland 'Martha, Meals and Malawi' a 30 minute documentary airs.

Martha and I are in London for the One Show and we won't get a chance to watch the documentary until it goes on iPlayer and we'll post the link to it as soon as we can. Versions of the documentary will also be broadcast on BBC World on the weekend of 20th/21st Oct and on the News Channel on the weekend of Nov 3/4.

It's quite a nerve wracking day ahead of us. We'll try not to be shy and we'll tweet on @NeverSeconds as we go.

Veg's Dad (Dave)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tuesday 2nd October- Backpacks, Ntenjera Primary School

This is William loading the truck at the Mary’s Meals warehouse in Blantyre.

We bounced all the way to Ntenjera Primary School. I thought the lorry might fall over onto a man on a bike but it didn’t. No one at the school knew the backpacks were coming and so all the children were in their classrooms with their teachers. When the children saw the lorry they knew it was full of backpacks and I could hear how excited they were.

The children queued up and I handed them each a backpack. Some classes had more than a 150 children in. It was great fun because they were all so happy. When all the children had a backpack I counted to three and they opened them. Everyone seemed to like the pens best.

There was a big queue of girls waiting to get backpacks. It took a long time to hand out all 1960 backpacks and it was very hot in the classrooms but some children sat on bricks outside. I gave my backpack to Christina who was older than me but the same size. It’s hard to tell how old children are because they grow up hungry and they are smaller but older than me. All the kids loved their backpacks and I am going to send more.

When I had an interview with Laura I took a photo of Ray so you can see what it is like to talk to a camera all day!

Monday 1st October- Lirangwe- Friends of NeverSeconds

I didn’t sleep well because the fan in my room is noisy. It is nice to be cool but I may turn the fan off because it kept me awake. I was very nervous in the van going to Lirangwe. I was shaking with nerves. When we got there all the children were lined up singing and I could hear them over the sound of the van engine.

When we got out and stood in front of them you could feel the song in your chest. Dad, Mum and Grandpa all had wet eyes and I had to squeeze dad’s hand. It was a nice song and I went down to the children to thank them. I said ‘Muli bwanji’ which means ‘hello how are you’ and ‘Zikomo kwambiri’ which means ‘thank you’. After we had said hello properly we went to the headmistress’s office. Joe spotted a wad of papers pinned to the wall. It was the school Death Record and it was very thick.

Next we went to the kitchen to meet the ladies making the likuni phala. They were very happy and danced.

There were 6 massive pots of porridge being cooked and the ladies were singing as they stirred it. One lady had her baby strapped to her back but he didn’t wake up. I had a go at stirring but I got smoke in my eyes from the wood fire because I am short. The pots were massive and I think I could have had a bath in one. The sign had been left for me to complete and there was a sand pile for me to stand on.

I liked the colour of blue I used to finish the sign. It’s my favourite. I was very careful about doing it and I almost used too much but the artist helped me. I hope you like our sign. I tried my best and Joe and Polly helped.

I helped serve out the phala to the children. I used a jug to give everyone the same.

Some children didn’t eat all their porridge so they could take it home to their family to share. I find it hard not to eat when I am hungry and it is one of the bravest things I have ever seen.
I had some phala with an older class. One boy in the class was called Gilbert and he had sent me a message through Mary’s Meals. Gilbert’s an orphan. His dad was eaten by a crocodile and Gilbert lives in the market at night on his own.

Gilbert wants to be president when he grows up and he said he would make sure no child will be hungry in Malawi. Gilbert for president!
We all made lots of friends. Here is Polly’s friend. They stayed together all day.

Everyone is very proud of the kitchen at the school and so am I.