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Hungry Banquet

he way we lead our lives is very much a product of chance. We are born into the cultures and locations we are in by complete chance. We have no control over who our parents are and where they live and what their circumstances are. We can control some aspects of our lives once we are born, but we have no control over the lives we are born into. This is a near impossible idea to wrap your mind around. None the less there are different literature, internet games and events that try to help people gain a better understand of the economic discrepancies throughout the world. The Indianapolis Oxfam Action Corp and other similar organizations put on the Hunger Banquets to try and help people understand the concept of randomness in regards to food, poverty and hungry throughout the world.

Upon arriving at the Hunger Banquet put on by The Indianapolis Oxfam Action Corp each participant randomly selected a card that contained their assumed identity for the rest of the evening. There were three levels or card colors that represented the Upper, Middle and Lower classes throughout the world. The world’s distribution of wealth, hunger and poverty are roughly distributed 20%, 30% and 50% respectively. It’s hard to understand that distribution until you visually see it. This is accomplished when you see the majority of the people that are attending an event sitting on the ground eating food with their hands while about a half dozen people are eating at table. This visualization is just the beginning of gaining a better understanding. Upon the cards were also personal stories of different people who feel within each category. This put a name and story to the different levels. It is hard not to care when you here about a single mother who recently gave birth in Syria Leone or farmer whose land is being given to corporations to make their millions but removes this farmer’s income. It is also hard not to feel guilty when you hear about the farmer stated above and learn that the land was sold to Coke Cola to produce sugar for their drinks that I know I drink every day, along with many others.

Although this was a very moving event, I left feeling slightly overwhelmed. I know there is hunger and poverty throughout the world, including in my own neighborhood. However, I left not knowing where to turn next and what I, a student with a passion about food, could do next. Yes, there was a table full of information, but I do not want to weed through different statistics and facts about world hungry. I just wanted to know what I could do to help. What could I do to make a difference? Being a student and someone who turns to the internet for most of my lives answers I turned to the internet. But what about the people that attended that do not have internet access or do not know where to look for answers. What do they do to use their new found passion or the emotions evoked during this event? This is an area that I feel this event and possibly the organization could have excelled. They had plenty of information but no one tell people what information was the most important. Additionally there was no one clear to ask or one clear action that the organization wanted people to do. Just listening to the people in my group in the lower income there seemed to be many moved people who would have volunteered, joined, written letters, donated but there was not facet for them to do so. This was the only issue or thing I would change.

 

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