Friday, April 16, 2010

Madison Country Day School - Oxfam Hunger Banquet

Friday, April 16th, 2010

I had a remarkable experience at the Madison Country Day School last January when I was invited to give a little talk at the Oxfam Hunger Banquet the school was hosting. If you haven’t yet experienced an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, I really recommend it. While one group was dining sumptuously by candlelight, I chose to sit on the floor under a tent, Bedouin style, with the group that was offered just a handful of rice served in a banana leaf with a cup of water. In spite of the meager provisions, there was a cozy feeling under that tent, and the rice was cooked to perfection and seemed to me quite delicious even though the whole point of the exercise was to experience solidarity with the millions of poor people on earth who live in extreme poverty. What impressed me most about the event was the quality of the students who presented themselves with real compassion and professionalism and who were also extraordinarily warm and welcoming. I was especially grateful to Sandra Fernandez who helped organize the event and sent me the invitation. What made the evening all the more poignant was the fact that news of the earthquake in Haiti had just broken and the uppermost in my mind was the fact that even before the quake had hit, many Haitian children were subsisting on mud cookies made with water from Port o’ Prince sewers.

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