Put It On My Tab

We have a small café on the first floor in our school. It has a total of three tables to sit, but one usually has boxes. The other two tables are surrounded by stools. The heated gas radiators don’t seem to heat this room, so it’s usually cold. The café has a counter along the back wall. Behind it is Nana. Nana runs the cafe. She has two helpers, one serves the food and drinks to whoever sits at the tables and assists with the traffic at the counter and the other cooks the food in the side kitchen. There are limited options in the café. They serve coffee and tea. They also have some pastries like khatchapuri, grilled Panini, and sweet treats.

The parents of the first graders stay at school all day to watch and care for the needs of their kids. During class they sometimes sit in the café to talk and wait for the class change. Or the teachers without classes come in for a quick snack.

There is not an actual cafeteria for the kids. This is it. There is another café next to the school, but those are the only options for food or snacks. As the school day is from 9 until 3 pm, obviously the kids are going to get hungry. So between classes, they flood down to the café for a snack to tide them over until after school.

Most of the kids have coins to buy the cheap treats and snacks. But the café also has a tab system. Which I love. I always wanted to have a place I could go to and say, “Put it on my tab!”  But unfortunately I haven’t been able to exercise that yet. Every time I go, another teacher usually buys and puts it on THEIR tabs.

My co teacher is disappointed in and usually doesn’t take me to this café because she thinks the host could do a better job with sanitation, specifically she touches the pastries with her bare hands instead of using gloves. That sort of thing would have been a deal breaker for me in the States, too, but now…. eh.

But I did notice a phenomenon today that gave me pause. The kids come storming into the café between classes buying this and that. They don’t have a legitimate cafeteria or eating area but they are also forbidden to eat during class. so they are either scarfing down sandwiches between class or sneaking bites as the teachers turn their backs. they also offer free water from the sink. There is a rack of glasses against the window, but there is usually one drinking glass on the counter for the kids to use. And when I say for the kids to use, I mean plurality. One kids comes in grabs the glass, fills it with tap water, drinks it then returns it to the counter. Minutes later, another kid comes in and repeats. Then another kid and another.   I can only think of the germs being shared and distributed throughout the day. That process alone can wipe out the entire school to sickness.


“Yes I will call this home
I have no time to justify to you
Fool you’re blind, move aside for me
All I can say to you my new neighbor
Is you must move on or I will bury you
Don’t drink the water
Don’t drink the water
There’s blood in the water”

Don’t Drink the Water, DMB


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