Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Camping Fun-with a serious note about poverty and hunger

Last weekend I had the joy of going to Girl Scout camp with big L.  We had a very good time.  Mixed in with the fun was a serious workshop for me on Global Action, and a fun workshop for her, that was more her level.  Obviously they did not discuss hunger as in depth for her nor did they discuss sex trafficking. 

However, let it be known that when the girls get older they are shown the world how it is so that they can make it change and become what they want it to be.  A group of girls in our Girl Scout council are truly inspirational.  They created this website: GS Gems, and they do amazing things to raise money and bring awareness to issues women face.  Is this because men aren't important?  Of course not, but women and children make up the majority of people who live in poverty and are susceptible to giving in to trafficking to help their families.  These girls are doing great things, and to think it all started when they were in high school.  Can you imagine the change they can help create as adults? 

This weekend we focused on poverty and hunger, and sustainability.  For lunch on Satruday we all sat down for our family style meal.  One girl from each table went to the kitchen to get the food for their whole table.  One girl came back with a feast, the others came back with one dish which had to be split 15 ways.  This was quite a learning lesson for our girls, on what it means to be poor, to not have enough for the whole family, to worry about what you will get to eat next that will satisfy you.  Most of our children who attended camp have never had to think about where mom or dad will get there next meal.  They have never gone to bed hungry because there simply was no more money to buy food with.  Some girls cried.  The most poignant comment came from the table with everything.  When the situation was pointed out to the kids in the room, one girl said, "I didn't even notice."  Wow. 

I turned to my daughter and said, "sorry, but if we were this poor you would probably die of hunger.  we would not be able to buy the food you are able to eat."  I think it kind of hit home, but after awhile all of the tables got all of the food to eat, so the girls did not walk away hungry.  What would have happened if we had let them walk away without eating the full meal?  

We also talked about education and the fact that women everywhere do not have access to education.  Some families only send the boys to school.  The statistics show that when girls are educated they are empowered to make more choices.  They marry and have babies at a later stage in life.  They get jobs that enable to them to support their family which allows them to raise daughters who follow in their footsteps, instead of into poverty. 

I am trying to figure out to show my troop as a whole some of these issues.  Some will have to wait until they are older.  We talked about fair trade this weekend, and while my girls would be able to play the game we did at this age, watching a video on the horrors that go on in cocoa farming is probably not on the to-do list for awhile.  I am not showing them the video about the 14 year old who had a baby and had to sell her body to feed her family; not yet at least. 

This weekend got me thinking, which was the point.  I try to explain to my child that she is lucky.  That has no impact.  I think it may be time to slowly start showing her.  I don't sugar coat things usually.  We talk about dying, not going to a happy place in the sky.  We talk about how some family's don't even have as much money to spend on food in a month that we spend in one week.  Her eyes get big when we talk about it, but she hasn't connected it to actual people yet.  I think this may be the age to start going to food kitchens and volunteering some time.  I think she may be ready to put faces to social problems, but I could be wrong.  I could be doing this before she can psychologically process this. 

In the meantime, my troop is going to be doing some service projects to learn about how other people live this year.  Hopefully I don't anger any parents. 

What do you think?

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