On the way.
“…It’s so much cleaner around here now.” [Bell]
Bell-san said quietly as we approached the venue.
“Have you been here before?” [Ryouma]
“Yes, though just for church business, so not frequently.” [Bell]
“I see.” [Ryouma]
The area we were going through might not look much different compared to the residential district, but this is actually already the former slums. Bell-san’s surprise is likely because of all the progress the government and I have made with the land readjustment project, and the construction of new houses and road.
When I explained that to her, she asked me anxiously.
“I beg your pardon, but what is a land readjustment project? What happened to the people living here?” [Bell]
“Please don’t worry. We didn’t drive them out of their homes. We spoke through Revel-san, the person in charge of the slums here, to reach out to the residents in advance. The people living here can be largely divided into three groups.” [Ryouma]
Group one would be the people that don’t have a house even in the slums, as well as those that used to live in the streets and in the abandoned houses. These people have been moved by the government to a housing complex.
Group two consists of people with houses in the slums willing to be moved. These people have been asked to cooperate with the land readjustment project and were moved to a new location. This is similar to the ‘replotting’ that was done in the land readjustment project during the last era.
Finally, for group three, the people that refused to be moved no matter what, their houses were just rebuilt.
Of course, there were some arguments here and there, but Revel-san and the government office worked together to resolve everything.
Some of these residents had issues like their legs being bad, so they couldn’t be moved to a place with a lot of slope. There were various reasons why they didn’t want to be moved, so the government had to hear them out individually and find a point where they could compromise.
To that end, the government office prepared a special department to process their complaints and adjust the plans accordingly. This move was met positively, as people claimed that their new house to be more convenient than the old.
“That’s good to hear. But if that’s the case, then won’t a new house soon be built in the venue we’re using for the soup kitchen today?” [Bell]
It’s true that today’s venue is vacant due to the land readjustment project, but…
“Perhaps in the future, but there are no plans for now. It would be problematic if all the vacant land is made residential, and there’s also a priority in what and which to construct, so there’s actually a number of vacant lots with nothing planned for. The venue today is one of those, so there won’t be any problems using it as the venue for the church’s soup kitchen.” [Ryouma]
Also, in order to carry out the land readjustment project, the ownership of all the land had to be centralized under my name via a temporary purchase, so there won’t be any problem using the vacant lot as a venue either.
Before long we arrived at the venue.
The members of the Macho Squad that arrived earlier have already started setting up the venue. From the looks of things, the kitchen was already ready, so we decided to start cooking right away.
“Bell-san, where shall we start?” [Ryouma]
“We’ll be making a large batch of potato and bean soup, so we won’t be do anything too difficult. We’ll be washing the potatoes, then peeling them and cutting them into pieces, and then cooking them with the beans. After that the thinly sliced salted meat can be added. Cook everything into a stew to remove the harsh taste, and then all that’s left is to season to taste.” [Bell]
“In that case, I’ll go ahead and wash the potatoes.” [Yurdum]
As Yurdum-san said that, he took several bags of potatoes and headed for the watering hole. One of the helping girls saw that and ran up to help, but he refused her, saying that her hands would get rough.
Being able to do that so naturally might be gentlemanly, but the way one of the boys is looking at Yurdum-san and the girl is a bit… Maybe it’s puberty. The girl and the boy are both older than me, after all. Whatever, let’s just leave them alone.
“Oh, right. I made that thing I mentioned before, so can you take a look at it?” [Ryouma]
“You mean that convenient tool you were talking about?” [Bell]
I took the item from my Item Box. It was something that any Earthling would immediately recognize.
A staple of late night shopping channels, the cooking slicers.
I made my slicers by using a hardening liquid sheet for the main body, then attaching a metal blade.
I took one of the salted meat that needed to be thinly sliced and placed it on top of a plate to demonstrate the tool.
“I see, so that’s how you use them.” [Bell]
“That’s not all, this tool isn’t limited to just thin slices. By simply replacing the blade, you can also cut the meat into strips. And if you slide the ingredient into it like this, you can cut dried meat and vegetable really quickly. Even kids can use these tools, and in fact, they’re even safer than knives. Of course, you need to be careful not to cut yourself.
But wait, there’s more. There’s a metal blade attached at the end of the tube, so if you put the peeled potato inside the tube, and then lower the upper lever, voila! Just like that, the potato is cut, and even a child could easily help with the cooking.” [Ryouma]
I tried to appeal to her like the experts in those shopping channels, but Bell-san had a seriously look on her face and was deep in thought. Compared to her, the children that saw the demonstration from the side, especially those around my age or below, had a much bigger reaction.
“Wow! Can we help with the cooking too if we use those!?” [Child 1]
“Teacher Bell! I want to help cook too!” [Child 2]
“…Right. It’s too early for you to use knives, but this might actually work out. However, there’s still a risk of cutting one’s fingers, right?” [Bell]
“Yes, but any tool can be dangerous when used incorrectly.” [Ryouma]
“That’s true. In that case, everyone needs to be careful when using the tool, okay?” [Bell]
As soon as Bell-san said that, the children all rejoiced.
As the children jumped for joy, Bell-san approached me.
“Thank you for being considerate of the younger children.” [Bell]
“Don’t mention it, I just happened to know something that would be useful.” [Ryouma]
According to the rules of the mother church of the orphanage, the orphans are supposed to participate in charity activities like this soup kitchen as much as possible.
But there are things that the younger children can’t do. Things like handling knives or working the fire.
Of course, there are other jobs too, like carrying ingredients or drawing water, but the younger children can only carry so much.
Because of that there are some children that can’t help even though they want to once the cooking starts.
When I heard that and remembered the slicer, I decided to recreate it in this world, and today, the finished product has finally been unveiled.
I’d talked about it with Bell-san beforehand, but it’s good that she agreed to let the children use the tool and help out.
Thanks to that the children could happily use the slicer and help out with prepping the ingredients.
It took a bit of work, but seeing the smile on everyone makes all that work worthwhile.
Now then, it’s about time I got to work too.
With that in mind, I headed over to where Yurdum-san was and helped wash the potatoes.
There has been a lot of troubling things lately, or no, rather it’s precisely because there’s been a lot of troubling things lately that I should treasure peaceful days like today.