Not everybody has a good appetite…..

In my last column I have written about the various delicious meals all residents get in PCC during the week.

I have also mentioned that, fortunately, nearly all children look good and healthy because of the quality of and variety in meals.
However ….. nearly all children ….. which means ….. not all!!
Because like everywhere else in the world there are also good and bad eaters here, there are children who gain much weight (too) easily and there are those who do not or barely gain weight. There are residents in PCC who go for “all you can eat” and children with clear likes and dislikes concerning their food.
So, we have not fully succeeded by just preparing good and healthy food. We will have to (try and) protect the big eaters from their big appetite and take care, that bad eaters will ingest enough food in one way or another. Which is, by the way, easier said than done.
For years we have tried to make enthusiastic eaters like Ayuba, Kofi Asare, Jacob and Mabel exercise moderation when it comes to their portions of food.
Ayuba will come and tell me regularly that he has understood the message: “No surplus, no surplus!”, he’ll say, while continuing gobbling down his food and even chipping away from the bowls of others. And this is surely evident from the size of his body….., have a look at the picture of a broad and sturdy Ayuba.
It is more complicated to make sure that mediocre or bad eaters will get enough food, e.g. Theresa, Afia, Mariella, Liza and (to a certain extent) James. You will need much stamina, persuasiveness and creativity for this. It is not always clear why these children or youth eat well for a period of time and then they will refuse any food for days on end. It is sometimes a way of protesting against something we do not know what it is. And this makes looking for a solution a mighty difficult thing to do.
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In the end we always succeed in persuading them into eating again, but such a period of no food at all or very little food does have its consequences: they do not become very robust…..
For example Theresa, at some moments she can greedily eat her food and then she won’t eat a bite for days, which is quite extreme. Although she is given extra boiled eggs or other food she likes in between meals, she remains a very thin girl. Also regular worm treatments haven’t made a difference, Theresa’s appetite has not changed into the right and positive direction (yet).
When you put Ayuba and Theresa together in a picture, you won’t believe your eyes. They have been offered the same food for years and Theresa even a bit more, but nevertheless there is a huge difference in size.
Fortunately, during the years Joe Emma has become very creative in convincing children like Afia, Mariella, Liza and Theresa to finish their meals. He is able to – very calmly – talk the children into eating, when virtually no one else can.
It is not a very easy task to offer 93 children and youth enough and wholesome meals each day, but practice has proven to be still even more difficult. Luckily, most of these problems are always solved thanks to the everlasting commitment of kitchen staff and caregivers led by Joe Emma.
Three meals a day is always worth a celebration in PCC, but it must be evident now that not all children enjoy these celebrations to the same extent.
Parents of children with eating problems will certainly recognize this story!