Okay, so the Hunger Banquet is an obvious oxymoron. The idea behind it is to help people have a better awareness of hunger in the world. This year there was an additional theme about human dignity. When we got there we split up into groups. 80% of the people were on the floor sitting on cardboard eating rice and beans. 10% were the “middle class,” eating hot dogs. 10% were “upper class,” and received a catered meal from Tucano’s. I was in the poor 80%, which I was fine with. Beans and rice over hot dogs any day.
While sitting on the floor, but before we had started, they had a couple of girls dressed as tourists come by. They would point, take pictures, and talk about how dirty the place was and how not to drink the water.
There were a couple of short films, a lot of artwork, and a keynote speaker from Asuncion, Paraguay. He works to relieve poverty in Paraguay, not a small feat. He stressed economic self-reliance, and mentioned that the farmers in Paraguay know how to farm potatoes, because they have been doing it for years. But they don’t know how to farm potatoes and make money. He has instituted a school that teaches a sort of business/agricultural hybrid that pays for itself.
He is not a member, and was very touched by the turnout and the interest in the subject. He even got a joke in, saying that Tecano’s was very good, and that we on the floor were there because we wanted to be, and that we even deserved it.
It was an eye opening experience, and for once it actually felt kind of good walking away from the dinner table (floor) a little hungry.