Kris and the children at the Parish Mission

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The children in the REC program at CCOP (ages 5 - 10) watched a video on the life of a young girl in Haiti - before the recent earthquake- and compared her life with theirs. Several children answered "yes" to the question, "Have you ever wondered what you would eat on a particular day?" No child answered "yes" to "Have you ever wondered IF you would eat on a particular day?" 

 After discussing differences of healthcare, education, and diet between the U.S. and Haiti, the children were broken up into four groups representing each of four continents/cultures: Asia, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, and U.S./Canada/Europe. A cloth from each region was spread out on the floor and the children gathered around their respective "tables."

All the children in the room (120) represented all the people of the earth. Asia, Africa, and Latin America tables had the largest groups of children. The U.S./Canada/Europe table had just a few to represent relative populations in the world. I produced a large bag of candy that represented all the food available on the earth and distributed it according to the relative per capita incomes of each region. The smallest amount went to Africa. There was 1 peice of candy for every 4 or 5 kids. The distribution was a bit more generous for Asia and Latin America. The rest of the large bag went to the U.S. et al group with many pieces per child.
Immediately the U.S. kids cheered for the amount they had to share among themselves. The kids protested in Asia and Africa and the Latin American group just looked disappointed. 

 When asked if it was fair, the U.S. group said they thought it was great. Naturally, the other regions disagreed! When asked why the food was not distributed evenly, most responses were related to the higher incomes of Americans and Europeans. When asked "why is that?" most kids thought it was because the people in the other countries didn't have good jobs or didn't know how to grow food well, or how to make better jobs for themselves. They were then asked if they thought things should be shared more equally, most agreed. When asked how they think we should make that happen, there were a variety of ideas ranging from shipping the food directly to teaching people how to earn more money, create jobs, grow food. I was impressed with their creativity! 

 When the U.S. group specifically was asked how they were going to share their candy they responded that they didn't want to and began to protest that it was theirs. When it was suggested that members of the other groups might just sneak in and take the candy they vehemently defended their borders and a small verbal skirmish broke out, some kids remarking that they would use guns to protect their stash. When asked "what would Jesus do to share the candy?" the answers were of course, he would distrubute it evenly. Once there was a consensus on what Jesus would think about how the candy should be shared, several children were assigned as "Missioners" and distributed candy to the rest. Soon everyone had a piece for themselves. Everyone had a lot of fun and I hope the adults present learned as much as their children. There are two more groups on Tue and Wed and one group on Thu and Fri. All in all 550 children will go through the exercise. More details later!

posted by Kris