On the Daraja Campus, 6 a.m. is a magical time of day. For once, the grounds are eerily quiet. The air is cool and fresh and the sky is a beautiful light, bright blue. The girls wake up early for the one thing that brings everyone together at 7:30 a.m.–breakfast. Meal time at Daraja not only brings the students together, but it also supplies the girls with the balanced nutrition required to make it through their full school days.
Daraja girls are committed to their education, and maintaining a properly balanced diet is extremely important to ensure they have the energy necessary for their studies and activities throughout the day.
Breakfast includes a large freshly made bread roll, uji (porridge) and chai (tea). Tea time mid-morning is a banana with freshly brewed chai. Lunch can be githeri (a rich stew made with beans, corn, potatoes and squash), peas and rice, or ugali (a starchy Kenyan staple) with greens and beef. Dinner alternates between ugali and greens with beef, pilau (aromatic spiced rice and meat), and rice with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.
Around campus, Thursday night dinner, or “pilau night” is the favourite. The wonderful kitchen staff work to accommodate any students with eating sensitivities or restrictions.
The kitchen staff are an important part of the Daraja family. There are five staff in total, and they work in shifts. Busy from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. at night, the dining hall and kitchen are the campus hub. Music often flows from the kitchen as the staff work tirelessly to prep and cook enough food for 115 students and staff.
Carol has worked in the kitchen at Daraja for three and a half years. She says her favorite thing about her work is “interacting with the girls.” The kitchen staff are like family to Daraja students and teachers, and an essential part of the day-to-day activities that keep campus functioning.