People Fed: Over 200
Observations: Today is a special occasion - an opportunity for the children and their communities to join together in celebration. Today we are in the grounds of ASMITA, and the theme is a celebration of Christmas. Children from many of the slum areas where our regular feeding programs are held are now excitedly seated on the grass at ASMITA, a makeshift stage constructed by joining together large wooden beds in front of them.
The program commences with some amazing dance and entertainment from the children. The children are supported by the teachers of their area as they come up on the stage and perform routines they have been practicing together for weeks. Some children are confident entertainers, some shy, some seemingly transfixed by being on stage and the audience responds enthusiastically to each. The small children stand to see more, the older ones laugh and enthusiastically encourage those on stage.
The children’s performances are followed by a nativity play with the teachers chanting the words and some of the children acting out the roles of angels, shepherds and others visiting Mary and Joseph at the birth of Jesus. It is heartwarming to watch this community of Christians, Hindus and Muslims celebrating together in love and joy, honoring the essence on which all religion is built.
The afternoon ends with a special meal for all those both participating in and watching the performance. Chillirice, sweets and a banana are distributed to all and eagerly consumed by children and adults alike in the festive mood. Some of the children recognize us from other feeding programs and come to join us. Even the large monkey attempting to join the celebrations does not deter the enthusiasm for the food, celebration or the general community spirit. At the end of the afternoon the children leave contented and smiling to return to their villages and share this new experience with their friends.