Saturday, November 27, 2010


After a thankful day of over indulgence, I'm reminded of a dinner I attended with my church youth group when I was about 12 years old. All the churches in the area put together a "world supper," so I went into it thinking we were going to sample different foods from around the world - yum! My friends and I arrived and were each handed a different card with a country listed on it. We were then told to find the table with our country listed and wait for further instructions. Being separated from your friends when you're 12 or 13 is pretty traumatic in itself, but there was no food in sight - I was getting a little uneasy. My card said China, so I proceeded to the China table were a dozen other pairs of eyes that looked just as nervous as me. As I panned the room I noticed that my table had the most seats, as did the India table, then I could see there were tables for the US, Italy, Ethiopia, and Mexico. Finally everyone was seated and the lesson began. We were going to be given the "traditional" meal for that country or region based on the average income of the population and our tables were a sampling of size of the population. I was slightly bummed that I wouldn't get to sample the other foods, but being at the China table, I thought I had lucked out and would get to eat some of my favorite Chinese food dishes. They brought us each a bowl of rice and glass of water and left. That was it. How can this be, I thought. Where was the lo mein, the beef and broccoli, the spring rolls? How were they expecting us to eat just a bowl of rice!? We then of course looked around the rest of the room to see what the other tables were receiving - it seemed like everyone was getting rice or a piece of flat bread - except for the US table, which was digging into turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans, and Italy, which had received lasagna and salad. What was going on here? Our anger and hunger was growing and the minister returned to announce that the kids at the US table were given extra cards, which they could either turn in for dessert or pass it on to someone in another country, an. It was a lesson in world hunger, and we had just been given a sampling of what most children around the world were eating tonight. I was humbled to say the least - I had heard the stories of the poorer countries going hungry and knew it existed in my hometown even, but I had never gone to bed hungry. Luckily, a friend had gotten an extra US card, so I was able to eat dinner that night - but some friends were not so lucky - we divided up our food and tried to make the best of it. I've never forgotten that dinner and am thankful that I had that experience - as simple as it was - as a reminder of how lucky I am and to be thankful for all that I have received.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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