In chapter 15 of The Devil's Arithmetic, Chaya/Hannah gets into the routine of life and work at the concentration camp. It is important to always be working, and Chaya and the other prisoners have many tasks to do. Most of the work is aimed at maintaining the functions of the camp. This includes cleaning the guardhouse, barracks, privies, and other buildings. Prisoners are also tasked with building more barracks as more prisoners arrive and sorting confiscated items from the new arrivals.
Chaya, along with Rivka and Shifre, is assigned to kitchen duty. Every day, they bring buckets of water to the kitchen from the water pump and serve the meager meals to the other prisoners. After the meals are served, Chaya and the others get to work cleaning the kitchen and washing the cooking pots.
Despite the hard work involved, this is actually a coveted job. Chaya and the other kitchen workers are sometimes able to find a few extra morsels of food stuck to the bottom of the pots. Although it is not much, these extra bites to eat make a huge difference to the starving prisoners. Chaya soon learns that Rivka had bribed the blokova in order to secure them their jobs in the kitchen.