Doing our part

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Cleaning up

Dirty Stove

After a successful community meeting between The Community and the Sudanese members of the Haya El Asher neighborhood, signs were shown that the meeting's main point hit its mark. At the Future School Bldg I, some of the members began working at the kitchen area that was severely lacking in cleaning for some time. After identifying the janitor from the meeting, we bought supplies like scouring powder, steel wool, etc and made a whole-hearted team effort to get the kitchen and the old stove up to an acceptable level.

The school's director, Mr. Abbas, was at the helm helping us reach our goal. The stove's condition was unimaginable with years of greasy buildup found in every useable space. This was not only a health hazard but a significant fire risk as well. Our aim was to restore the condition of the stove to where the school lunches could be prepared at the school instead of at the cook's home. By cleaning the stove, we also wanted to reduce the urgency for a new stove and divert that money to something more useful.

After several hours of world class Sudanese elbow grease, the kitchen started to take shape. The grease splattered walls were a thing of the past. The filthy cobwebs that lurked above the dishes were removed. All the mildew that was growing around the sink area was eliminated and the grout on the floor was white again. The stove however, was the show-stopper. No one thought that it could look that clean again. We even bought knobs from a local second hand shop so that the staff had something to hold on to while turning the stove on.

The team including the new cook and her male helper, the janitor/security guard and the director was very proud of the work done. We were happy to teach them an important lesson: "Many of the things that they feel they needed could be reduced by cleaning and a little hard work". We were disappointed to see that although we worked hard to get the kitchen in order, none of the teachers offered us a hand. This was ironic because they are the biggest users of the kitchen. We weren't dissuaded though and are sure that the all the staff will discover the pride of caring for their own things. Sometimes new ideas take time to take a place in people's minds.


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