Last week, I was at Pondicherry with 56 students and 4 colleagues. We volunteered to work for Habitat for Humanity, building a road, painting houses and painting gates, among other things. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Working with my students at a primary school, we witnessed the mid-day meal. The midday meal proudly provides not just rice and a watery dish of pulses, but also an egg.
On our first day at the midday meal, we watched a child distributing an egg to each child. There were three eggs short. Six children got only half an egg. No one complained.
In fact, two children raised their hand and volunteered to take just half.
My eyes moistened.
I was with students who threw plates full of food away if they did not like it.
The next day, I was at the midday meal once more. And once more there were too few eggs.
The boy distributing the eggs counted and gave four children half an egg less.
A small boy, looking down at his plate said, almost to himself, “Yesterday also I got only half an egg; today also I got only half an egg.”
My heart broke.