5 Star Meal in a 3rd World Country
Submitted by: Sheila Wilson
Okay, I have been wanting to share this for some time now. . . We recently did this activity which rated 5 stars with the leaders and probably 4 with the youth, but you’ll see why as you read on.
The youth were told that the up and coming activity would be a dinner. That’s All! Then as leaders we did all the preparations behind the scenes with no talk as to what would actually be taking place. We were definitely blessed to have one of the highest attendance of youth for that night.
The youth began arriving their usual time, just prior to 7pm. We kept them in the foyer and wouldn’t let them in the cultural hall where the provisions had been set up. After everyone had arrived, we said a prayer and pinned on them a colored piece of paper. (divide depending on your size with only about 8 in the one main group) We were watchful as we didn’t want them to change and end up in their same little comfort groups.
We had them enter the cultural room. As they entered leaders directed them to designated places:
1. Pink – were very kindly one by one helped to a beautifully set round table in the middle of the room. The table was set with fine china, brass goblets, candelabra’s (unlit) fine silverware etc.
2. (blue) – were pointed the way where some blankets had been laid out
3. (green) – were pointed to the side of those sitting on blankets and just sat on the carpet/floor
They were pretty quiet, not knowing what to anticipate. First a leader came in and headed directly to the table not speaking to the two groups on the floor. (we kept them purposely within seeing and earshot distance of each other.) The leader poured them a drink, immediately following another leader served a salad, (as if in the finest restaurant), everyone was pretty quite to our surprise. As those plates were taken, next came the dinner chicken, vegetable, mashed potatoes and gravy and a roll. Someone was always attending to their needs, refilling their water, asking if they would like more. (kind of hamming it up)
Now we began to hear murmuring. Immediately leaders came in and handed the blue group, tortillas (flat bread) followed by rice. Their only problem was if they had eaten the tortilla (by choice) before their rice arrived, the rice had to be put in their hands.
The blue group received mix-matched set of older looking bowl, even some with cracks, chips etc. The bowls were hap-hazardly place in the middle of their group. A leader came along and slopped rice in their bowl. One girl nicely mentioned to me that her bowl was dirty and asked If I could get her another one. I told her sorry that was all we had. ( this was just the beginning of a lesson learned for her, coming from a pretty wealthy family I actually watched her pick the bowl clean so she could have rice).
Attention was again focused on the center table, who were pretty quiet the whole time. Out came a huge 3-tiered tray of an assortment of deserts.
Stop! Now let me tell you all the little things taking place amongst the youth. There was the expected whining and complaining about why couldn’t they get food like the others. Some were actually begging a few at the table to share. We once saw someone throw their drumstick to someone. upon which three people fought over the drumstick. (As leaders we couldn’t believe the youth were playing right into our plans) We later found out the youth and bishopric member (as we had one in each group) were uncomfortable eating the fine dinner in front of everyone. (interesting?)
We quickly took a few minutes and told them about our world (to them, outside of their little comfort/family/friend zone) We talked to them about their actions and feelings which had just taken place, how those at the table even felt guilty, how the conditions had stirred some to steal, argue and fight over morsels of food. We had my daughter speak to them who had been in Guatemala and painted a picture for them. We were very careful to keep a reverence for the Guatemalans/or 3rd world people, but rather came from the aspect that we are the different ones, the ones who have a great responsibility to not waste, share, be grateful etc. When she was through bearing her testimony and sharing personal experiences of drinking tang from a cup with dirt and a fly. It became easy realizing she was being given all the little sweet man had to give, literally. She showed about four slides within her 7 minute talk and ended with the picture of the Savior. The youth were invited to sing ‘Because I Have Been Given Much” and a closing prayer. Upon where everyone was silent (most wiping their eyes) We then handed out a sheet to them. The evening was over.
Now for the Corker! The leaders began to clean up and the youth some stayed and seemed to be waiting others following the leaders to the kitchen. We FINALLY CAUGHT ON. Those in the two 3rd world groups were now expecting their dinners. THAT’s where we lost at least one star (more from my hungry son) They couldn’t believe it when they found out and kept passing on the word that there was NO MORE FOOD.
It was the talk of every mtg. for two weeks, PEC, BYC, PRES MTG, FHE etc. Parents called to tell us what an awareness we had created. Parents thanked us and reinforced what the youth had learned and felt that evening.