Stranded Navajos Confused by Ready-to-Eat Meals

Members of the Navajo Nation, stranded in parts of northern Arizona and New Mexico because of poor road conditions, are having trouble preparing ready-to-eat meals that have been dropped from helicopters.

About 40,000 meals were dropped to the Native Americans, but members of the Nation -- particularly the elderly in rural areas -- are having trouble understanding the cooking instructions because they are written only in English.

Apparently, the meals aren't as "ready-to-eat" as advertised.

The instructions aren't too complicated. The meals can be eaten hot or cold, but often require adding water. For people who don't understand English, however, it's proved to be a difficult task, and many aren't eating the meals.

Helicopters dropped about 3,300 cases containing spaghetti, chicken, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, desserts, and hot beverages.

Selena Manychildren, spokeswoman for the Navajo Nation Emergency Operation Center, tells the Farmington (New Mexico) Daily Times that despite diagrams, the Navajo are still having trouble preparing the meals.

"There's a diagram, but you have to understand a little bit about them before it makes sense. People are saying, 'Gee, what the heck, how do I use this?'" Manychildren says.

Not to worry. We have a feeling that after a few more foodless days, they'll figure it out.