Diane (dkix) wrote in oxfamco,

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Break means time to process and reflect

Hey guys -- Mery Christmas and Happy Holidays! As some time has passed now and I've been able to process the Hunger Banquet on my campus, I wanted to share with you what I've been reflecting on with others. Perhaps you'll be able to identify with what I've found as well. Here goes: "As I studied away in Oakland, CA this past Fall semester, I was dedicated to holding an Oxfam Hunger Banquet on the campus as part of my Community Organizer role for the international organization. The Hunger Banquet is organized so that when attendees enter the room, they draw their "lot in life," which is a card that dictates the amount of and kinds of food they receive during the dinner portion. I had several challenges upon arriving on campus: I had to find out what groups worked on hunger issues on campus, whether or not they held events similar to the Hunger Banquet, and upon finding out they had not, how I would be able to orchestrate an event of the magnitude I hoped on the campus. This was my first solo attempt at hosting one and the fact that I was doing so at a campus completely new to me added extra stress to the affair. I managed to get through it rather well and was delighted to discover deep reflection at the event. One young woman cried, explaining that she had seen real hunger first-hand, upon her visiting various African countries and she knew that this event was superficial to many. They would feel bad for people who had to experience this daily, but as soon as the banquet ended, they could go to the cafeteria and fill themselves. Another woman commented that she had been homeless once so she participated in the banquet as though she were really on the street again, in need of food. She asked her friend at the wealthy table to share what she didn't eat. The dinner and speakers helped demonstrate the distribution of wealth in the world and allowed time for participants to reflect on their understanding of why hunger and poverty exist. Many told me afterward that the event went well. For me, the learning continued after the event took place. A friend I deeply respect shared she had heard the Banquet went well but that the emcee of the event had managed to otherize people of third world nations by demeaning their using their hands to eat food. This demonstrated to me that we must not be satisfied with our merely bringing up an issue or dialoguing - that instead, we must seek to be concious always of the impact of our words and actions. The students reflected and I did too."
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