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In a heart-warming gathering at the Kyaik Wine Disabled Center, the group that goes by the name of “Community Kitchen” visited the children to interview, offer snacks, and bond with the orphans at the center. With dedicated leaders Maheem and Chan Mya, the group gathered on the 13th of September and traveled to the location with one goal set in their minds: to find out what exactly the orphans would like us to cook for them for the rest of the year, in order to construct a year-long plan of recipes to use.

This is what our interviews looked like during the day of the visit.

As of tradition, the group paid a visit to the director of the orphanage to pay their thanks, explained what they are planning to do in the next hour, and donated money collected from the members of the group. Our next step was to pass out the snacks that we had brought to the orphans, which is a regular part of our routine. Continuing with our plan, we moved on to interviewing the children at the center to find out more about their personal interests and help with our future goal of creating a schedule of recipes throughout the year. Many of these children, due to the constant exposure of the same recipes on regular intervals, have come to grow tired of bread, pork, and chicken. Instead, they would like to try Korean food, gum, spicy foods, chips, junk food, candy, pizza and much more. In short, what we would consider a “light snack” appears as a delicacy in their view, reminding our group of the fortunate position that we are in. This connects the concept of service-learning to our goal: to aid the less fortunate with a simple yet satisfying part of our lives—food. Maheem, co-leader of the group, underlines this with, “Food is the common ingredient that binds us all together.” 

In our visit, it was rare to find anyone at the orphanage with a frown at the sight of our bus approaching the center. All throughout, we met many grateful individuals who grinned and thanked us when offered snacks. Chan Mya said that “This is my third time coming to this orphanage and something that always amazes me is that although life has not gifted them with the best abilities and opportunities, the kids are always happy and have a smile on their faces.” Shan, a new member of the group, also expressed his gratitude after the trip, saying that “I am glad I came on this trip because it makes me grateful for the education I receive and who I am as a person.” Both of these views are perfect examples of service learning;  although entirely focused on giving rather than receiving, we still manage to leave behind a message composed of different meanings, words, and thoughts in all of our hearts. With this, we invite you to join our culinary journey towards filling a simple need of the youth—food that makes them happy.

As evident, their lunch consists of vegetables, rice, and soup. Although it looks like a regular cafeteria meal, this or something of the sort is given to them every single day, eventually leading to what they would consider a rather mundane diet.

By Fidan Alasgarli

Published by Global

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