Eating Rice & Beans… and a Duck

Rice & Beans Month helps fund nutritious meals for the Lahash sponsored kids in Dodoma, Tanzania. There are weekly gatherings for all sponsored kids at Grace & Healing Ministry, plus a special daily Nutrition Program for those living with HIV. (Check out the videos “More Than A Meal” and “A Special Nutrition Program” at eatriceandbeans.com to see the program in action.)

The Nutrition Program meal of rice, beans, greens, and fruit is much bigger and more nutritious than what the children usually eat at home. They look forward to eating rice and beans, and now the Lahash Servant Team looks forward to enjoying it with them!

Mandee and Yevette (far left) get to participate in Rice & Beans Month with Grace & Healing Ministry kids and staff!

That’s right, for five months Mandee Campos and Yevette Garcia are eating rice and beans with the kids at Grace & Healing Ministry. And they are witnessing the incredible gratitude and generosity so prevalent among the East African children, families, and staff.

Yevette, Athman, and Mandee at his home

Shortly after arriving in Tanzania, Mandee and Yevette were invited to the home of a young boy named Athman, and he and his mother served them a meal. At the time, they didn’t fully realize its significance. Now, however, Mandee has this to say:

A meal that stands out to Yevette and me is the meal we shared with Athman and his mother when we did a home visit. The day before the visit, we were sitting near him and he started asking us some questions. He was really sweet, and said if we visited his home he would slaughter a duck for us to eat. We visited the next day, and sure enough, the duck was cooked and ready with ugali and pineapple. The longer we are here, and especially as we begin Rice & Beans Month, we realize how generous that gesture was. A lot of the kids’ families have only one meal a day at times, which consists of ugali (made from maize flour) and veggies. Rice and beans are actually more of a luxury. But Athman and his mother went far beyond even rice and beans. It is really moving to realize how generously they shared a meal – very much a banquet on their end – given how little they have. Athman has yet to be connected with a sponsor, yet he and his mother hold a lot of gratitude. I pray that Rice & Beans Month is a reminder to us to have that same spirit of gratitude, generosity, and fellowship with the abundance that we have. 

Serving up ugali to all in attendance

Athman’s mother beams with joy to have guests enjoying her food

Mandee enjoying some duck meat with Athman

Year after year, our partners in East Africa express their amazement and thankfulness that westerners would make the sacrifice to eat rice and beans on their behalf. And truly, everyone who has ever traveled with Lahash has experienced the type of selfless generosity Mandee describes. The gratitude of our African brothers and sisters is humbling, when you consider how readily they sacrifice what little they have in order to welcome and honor guests. May their example inspire us as we continue our journey through Rice & Beans Month.

Learn more about Rice & Beans Month here, and find out how you can change your diet to help change the diets of kids in East Africa!