CARACAS • When children at a Catholic-run school in a poor neighbourhood of Venezuela's capital Caracas began fainting from hunger, their teachers asked them to draw or describe their most recent meals and what they expected to eat next.
The responses were shocking.
Some of the 478 kindergarteners and primary school pupils had gone without breakfast and were skipping other meals. Others expected to eat only bread, yucca or "arepa", a form of cornmeal flatbread that is a local staple.
The drawings and texts at the Padre Jose Maria Velaz school in western Caracas are another symptom of the oil-rich South American nation's deep economic crisis and its effects on nutrition and eating habits.
Depicting their latest meals, some children at the school drew just mangoes and plantains. One said he had eaten rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Another said he had no breakfast. "We are waiting for food," he said. "I'm hungry."
School director Maria Hidalgo said one in four children there was eating inadequately, and some teachers had also fainted from hunger.
"It is dramatic, what we are going through," she said. "What kind of Venezuela are we going to have in 10 years?"
Due to the faltering socialist economy and the plunge in global oil prices, Venezuela has been in recession since early 2014. It suffers from the world's highest inflation and is experiencing a shortage of basic goods, from milk to medicine.