I was able to teach them all about the fantastic nutritional properties of the food they ate in their home country, show them how to make it and explain why pizza will make them ill.
Having been presented with this wonderful opportunity, I quickly learnt about a few traditional Ethiopian recipes. It struck me straight away that the food they eat at home is absolutely wonderful. Easy to make, fantastic nutritional value and it tasted delicious.
When I started showing them the ingredients and cooking, the room became very animated as 5 translators worked hard to keep up with my banter. The boys seemed to come to life, enjoyed tasting the food and it was an incredibly rewarding experience for all of us involved. I had been advised to expect little interaction and the likelihood that they wouldn't eat and may leave the room. It is impossible to imagine what they have had to deal with on their journey to the Guildford YMCA, but I was able to leave with some thoughts for gut healing and helped them understand why their bodies were not enjoying eating pizza as a staple part of their diet.
It was also inspiring to hear how the NHS support team had provided lavender bags for them to help them sleep and get through the night as they often wake with nightmares. It seemed they were helping too.
Fundamentally, I am proud to have been part of a support team welcoming these teenagers to our country. I hope I can help some more.