I went on a trip to the National Zoo (in Malaysia) with my university mates as well as kids from nearby orphanages last Saturday. We were a part of UniYouth, UCSI University, a leadership programme where we organise activities in and out of campus. So this semester, we planned to organise a trip to the zoo and have a couple of station games there for the children.
Plus, we actually managed to pull off a mini concert in our university’s auditorium to raise funds for this project.
Yeap, we got a couple of local bands and singers to perform a two-hour plus set for close to 300 audience. It was pretty rad.
Onto the title topic, the kids we were dealing with were of the age range, 5 to 12 years olds. They were from four different orphanages; Rainbow Home, Yayasan Sunbeams Home, Gurpuri Foundation and Sanctuary Care Center. All these totaled up to about 60 children.
I can tell you this; it is NOT easy to handle so many kids.
Teachers, especially kindergarten teachers, hats off to you.
Midway through the day’s activities, we had a lunch break where we provided them either rice or noodles. Half the kids were hungry and rushed over for food, a quarter were cool about it and the remaining ones were a bit blur as to what was going on. However, there was one kid, a 12 year old girl (I shall not mention who or where) refused to eat. No matter how we persuaded her to eat, she just did not want to.
Now, earlier in the bus on the way, we provided a light snack of bread and drink. I was sitting near her and noticed she did not eat. When I ask why, she claimed that she was fat and did not want to eat. Of course, I said that she wasn’t ( but really, she wasn’t at all!) and she still didn’t want to eat. A little later on, I happen to look her way and saw her opening her bread to eat. That’s a relief!
A friend of mine who was there and witnessing it told me this; that even kids are thinking that way, this kid has to be watched over carefully or she’ll end up anorexic. What my friend says is indeed true and I agree. This actually shows that kids, even at twelve years old, are so heavily influenced by society’s perception. A kid is willing to be hungry just to not be “fat”, in the terms of the society.
I knew that anorexia and bulimia happens in the world but I guess what happened that day made it seem more real than it already is.
You read about things but it doesn’t really affect you until you see it for yourself.
I remember when I was 12, I’d eat anything and everything when I was hungry.
I’d even asked for more if I was super hungry.
Tell me about getting fat? I’d think about curbing that hunger first.
Kids shouldn’t be limiting themselves from eating just because they’d think they would be fat.
That should be the last thing they worry about!