Thursday, August 14, 2014

Miracles in Miami
2) Feed the Children

            Hurricane Andrew had visited Miami and South Florida in August, 1992.  It toppled down trees and knocked out power lines.  There was no electricity in the house and in the entire neighborhood.  Elementary schools, high schools and university classes were cancelled for two weeks.   My landlord and his family had left the house and taken refuge somewhere else.

            It was a good opportunity to cook rice the old fashioned way with firewood.  I gathered twigs and branches felled by the hurricane.  Within minutes, about thirty children came out from everywhere to join me.  They picked twigs and piled them on top of my pile.

            From my kitchen, I picked out the cooking pan, a box of matches, a small bag of rice and a bottle of water saved before the hurricane.  I found three rocks to create a tripod for my pan to sit on.  I could only build fire  on  the lawn.  To do so on the concrete would be dangerous.  It could explode with the heat and cause bodily harm.

            I built the fire, cooked the rice with water and squatted nearby to watch the  fire.  The children  quietly watched  the process as well.  As scripted, the water boiled, I reduced the number of burning twigs and allowed the water to simmer and cook the rice until it was soft and fluffy. 

            The moment I declared the rice was cooked, all the children ran away.  I thought, they were done watching and were not interested in watching any other activity. Okay, I will eat rice by myself in peace. 

            I went inside my apartment to fetch a bowl and a spoon for myself.  When I came back thirty children had all come back, each with his own bowl and spoon.

            At this moment, I had to perform the miracle of feeding five thousand out of five loaves of bread and two fishes.  I had enough practice doing this from my grandmother, Mama Iyay, who was a master at this art.  They were so happy eating the little that I spooned into each bowl.  Once finished with their hearty meal, they ran back home taking with them their bowls and spoons.

            Children are the greatest.

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