There is a saying that goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, this is applicable to youth who do not appropriately utilise their free time.
Children on holiday should be given what to do during their vacation so that their minds are kept busy. A nutritionist and teacher of Kigali city school trains holiday makers on how to make special dishes for their parents.
“This holiday season let your children share in planning and preparing food for special occasions”, says Joyce kankunda a nutritionist and teacher at Kigali city school. She goes on to stress that children enjoy helping with house chores especially when on holiday".
Kankunda adds that children also enjoy helping parents prepare meals and snacks. This process aids them in learning the importance of eating healthy.
"Using their hands to prepare food also helps develop muscle coordination," she said, cautioning, however, that, “cooking activities should be tailored to each child, since no two children have the same abilities."
Kankunda says 5-7 years old can generally help with tasks like washing fruits and vegetables; peeling bananas; slicing soft foods such as bananas, cooked potatoes or carrots; stirring mixes or batters; pouring small amounts of liquids into a bowl, mixing with a rotary egg beater; measuring items such as raisins, chocolate chips or nuts; and removing cans from low cabinets.
For the 4-5 years old, the nutritionists offers these suggestions for activities they can assist with: opening packages, greasing pans, peeling carrots, helping set the table, cutting cookies with a cookie cutter, tearing lettuce for a salad or placing toppings on pizza or snacks.
Once children reach 6-8 years old, they may be ready to set the table with some supervision, help plan meals and snacks, find ingredients in the refrigerator, slice cheese, garnish food, measure ingredients, roll and shape cookies or set food on the table.
The nutritionist says older children may even be able to plan and prepare entire meals or snacks with supervision.
"Helping to plan and prepare meals is fun for children and helps them develop an appreciation of good nutrition," Kankunda said.
As I leave Kankunda’s office and walk towards Remera Taxi Park, I meet two young girls selling paper bags. I do not have intensions of buying their products but they insist on calling out “waguriye”.
I give up on ignoring them. I stand to look at them and pity feels my heart so I give them each Frw100. One of the girls, six year old Solange Gasaro goes to Ecole de Remera and she says that she feels happy helping her mother along side her business.
Gasaro’s mother who sells fruits in Remera decided to involve her daughter in business by teaching her how to sell paper bags.
“I work with my daughter and so far we are doing well. We understand each other and we make a lot of money” narrates Gasaro’s mother.
“All the money she works for is added to her school fees and I believe that next term she will get enough money to cater for her basic needs” says Gasaro’s mother.
Gasaro sells paper bags with her little friend Beyata Mwiza. Mwiza who is seven seems excited about the job she is doing.
“What surprises me is that my mother buys these paper bags and by the end of the day we have sold all of them” says Mwiza with a smile.
“Its like each day I begin making lots of money afresh and this time I will buy two dozens of paper bags”.
Beyata whose father died last year says that her mother gets happy whenever she takes money back home. Mother pays school fees for her four other sibling brothers.
Though these girls sell paper bags of very little money they at least keep occupied and help their parents on the other hand.
This call goes to holiday makers; to utilise this season and do constructive things.