Interviewee: Hasiba Matthias
Interviewer: Jeffrey Boyce
Date: June 27, 2016

Description: Hasiba Matthias is a foodservice worker in the Virgin Islands.

Jeffrey Boyce: I’m Jeffrey Boyce and it is June 27, 2016. I’m here on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands with Hasiba Matthias.

Hasiba Matthias: Nice to meet you sir.

JB: Nice to meet you. Welcome Hasiba and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.


JB: Could we begin today by you telling me a little bit about yourself, where you were born and where you grew up?

HM: I was born in St. Thomas, grew up in St. Thomas.

JB: So you went to elementary and high school here?

HM: Yes.

JB: And did you participate in the lunch programs here?

HM: Yes, the Summer, the School Lunch Summer Program.

JB:  What were some of your favorite menu items?

HM: Chicken, rice, casserole.

JB: Are there any special foods that are particular to the islands?

HM: I like the barbeque chicken, the pizza and rice, the stuffing, the casserole.

JB: So how did you get involved in child nutrition?

HM: Oh basically I used this lady, she was my mother friend, currently I think her husband had fractured his foot, and apparently after that I used to go up and help out and whatnot. And she was a cook, so she said, “Madam, I got to get you in the school lunch program.” I say, “Yeah?” And she say, “Yes.” So eventually I get in, in the summer in 2002, and I start to work, and after that, after that, the year after, I get on to the school lunch program permanently.

JB: So you’ve been doing this a while then.

HM: Um-hum.

JB: And what is your position title?

HM: Food service worker.

JB: OK. What’s a typical day like for you? What time do you start and what do you do?

HM: I start at six o’clock. I finish at two o’clock.

JB: And what are your duties during the day?

HM: My duties are set the line, set up the milk, I wipe tables, I sweep, I mop, and wash dishes, wash pots and pans, and serve. That’s about it.

JB: So you serve on the line?

HM: Yes, I serve on the line.

JB: OK. And what are some of the kids’ favorite menu items?

HM: They like chicken and rice. They like casserole. They like the ground beef, the ground beef and spaghetti.

JB: Are there any challenges to your job, anything you find difficult?

HM: Not really, no.

JB: What’s your favorite thing to do?

HM: My favorite thing, I like the line.

JB: The line?

HM: Yes.

JB: Interacting with the kids?

HM: Yes.

JB: What changes have you seen in the program over the years?

HM: Well things ain’t how it used to be before. School lunch has got harder over the years. The things what used to come in as before, like the food that they used to have before, they don’t really have it now, and I guess it’s the funding.

JB: So the quality has decreased?

HM: Yes. It’s not as thing as before. Things change up.

JB: What advice would you give someone who was thinking about trying to get a job in child nutrition today?

HM: Just try to give it a try and see how you like it. It’s a good program, and something to do. And that’s about it.

JB: Anything else you’d like to add?

HM: I enjoy working school lunch. It’s a good program. I would encourage anybody to try to. I got a lot of people who ask me how you get on the program, how you go about it? I say, “Well, you got to go down to Education, 7th Street, Human Resource, and they will ask them, “Well, I’m looking into the school lunch program and how you go about and get in.” And you go from there.

JB: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

HM: Thank you.