Tuesday, November 4, 2008

macaroni and cheese

I fully intend this post to be (at least slightly) more coherent then the last one!

This week when I was volunteering we had a really great group in helping us, so I took the time to actually eat with one of our guests, someone who also stays regularly at the shelter. It was great to actually be able to sit down and spend time with him, to just listen, and to share a meal together. I learned A LOT about him, far more then I would have in a month of just seeing him in the morning for coffee at work. This is one of the advantages to volunteering with the same population I work with (of course there are many disadvantages too).

It was a good meal, but what I found interesting was his attitude towards the food. When we were done eating, he wanted to wrap up his leftovers (pretty normal) and mine (okay, well, makes sense). What was odd though, was his reason why, or at least I thought so. Rather then sighting the fact that he was hungry, and might be hungry later, he had a strong belief that he needed to eat everything on his plate because there were children starving in Africa. This is an elderly homeless man, and he was quite worried because of the commercials he saw on TV about children starving far away.

It makes me wonder where he developed that view. Because honestly, I don't think he was watching TV one day and was like "oh, they're hungry, I should eat everything on my plate". I think it's far more likely he learned it in residential school. It was in these schools that Canada's aboriginal people were forced to learn white/european values, and quite effectively stripped of their culture. It's interesting also, because in the midst of his extreme poverty, this man is able to look beyond himself and realize that there are other people in just as bad if not worse circumstances, something which a lot of my clients cannot do.

All in all, it was a good meal, and the macaroni and cheese did taste very good. Eating it with my client/our guest just made it taste all the better.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Eating alone is one of the loneliest things I ever do, sharing a meal is touching another's humanity - I am glad you enjoyed it - I'm sure he did