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More on School Days

So we are continuing on the topic that school days were so very different from today. One of the programs we used to enjoy a lot in the 1950’ was the feeding program.

In those days there were many underprivileged communities in Belize and CARE Belize had a feeding program throughout the whole country. CARE was a Canadian agency that helped in third world countries. They provided our school with large supplies of flour and scores of barrels of powdered milk (KLIM).

Every week a few parents were selected to bake either flour tortillas or Johnny cakes. They were required to put some margarine on them and bring them for break time at 10 a.m. for distribution to the entire school of some 100 students. We used to form a line and received a piece each. Now that was the fun part of the program and we never got bored of fresh hot flour tortillas.

On the other hand, the teachers were asked to mix bucketfuls of the milk formula. They did a fine job except that no sugar was added. Trust me, after a few weeks this milk was gulped down like medicine. Some kids cried and were forced into the line. Others took their glasses of milk and threw it away when the teacher was not around. As usual there were tattle-tattles who used to tell on us and the teacher would lash us, but that person would also be in trouble with the kids.

What a valuable program but, oh, how boring it got after a short while. At he end of the school year some barrels of the powdered milk was left over and it got shared with the families who each got five to ten pounds of it.

To make this “milk drinking ordeal” more manageable or less of a torment, we used to take to school small parcels of sugar to sweeten our “medicine”. Some of the richer kids used to take a small container with some red Fanta (strawberry pop) and mixed it with the milk, to the envy of all the rest of us. Yet we always wondered how come there were a few kids who used to drink the last drop of the milk and even wiped the glass with their fingers to savor the curdle of milk.

So we can appreciate that recess time in the past used to be a fine nourishing time for the children of the San Pedro R.C. School. However I am convinced that nobody in San Pedro was undernourished as all kids had three meals, or more, a day. The teachers were too polite to say “No” to CARE and the government of Belize. More on happy school days 25 years ago coming soon.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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