Anjay supervises the unloading of the wagons. They find the mess hall, with an old-style wood-burning stove and a "cookbook" that is actually an old journal with handwritten recipes. Michael, 14, from Washington, interviews that none of them have ever done dinner like this before. And just to underline the point, we see a kid futilely stabbing at the top of a sealed food can with the point of an old-style can opener. You know, speaking as someone who has been camping a few times, the first meal after you arrive is always the hardest. It takes forever to find everything and get it all organized and set up even if you do know what you're doing (which these kids don't), and you're already hungry from the traveling and the unpacking. This is why my first meal on every camping trip now is a Big Mac in the car en route to the lake. It takes a lot of the pressure off. That probably wasn't an option for these kids, though. A bunch of girls get the fire lit in the stove, and start making some mac and cheese in a big pot. Except they put too many noodles in before the water is even boiling, making it completely impossible to stir. It's like Top Chef in reverse. Sophia comes in and takes over, pointing out that a 1:3 water-to-pasta ratio isn't going to work, whereupon she takes the pot off the stove, carries it to the door, and dumps its entire contents out in the street right in front of the building. Half of it retains the shape of the pot, so it had clearly been in there for a while. Some of the kids complain about the waste, but Sophia and Taylor manage to get everyone calmed down and focused on following the cookbook. Mike interviews that Sophia's working her butt off. Meanwhile, a bunch of other kids, including Anjay, Laurel, and Taylor, make the long hike to the pump outside town to fill buckets with fresh water while Sophia keeps the reins on the kitchen.
The sun's getting low in the sky, and then at full dark (which comes quickly in the desert), the mess hall is full of chanting, impatient, hungry kids. Sophia apologizes for the delay, but the pasta's taking longer than she thought. Could be the altitude; I remember camping in the high desert one night and the water was boiling while it was still cool enough to stick your hand in it. Finally the pot gets delivered into the mess hall, and the kids dig into some basic pasta and red sauce. Which, clearly, a lot of the kids are only eating because they're starving. "I'm happy with what we've done," Sophia interviews, because the kids are after all eating food she made instead of eating her.