Some of you know that for the last three years we have been hosting the second year campers from the Seeds of Peace camp. They come out and spend an afternoon at the farm and then head over to the food pantry to see service in action. Yesterday was our annual day with them and as was expected, it was full of crazy antics! The highlight was our first ever "International Worm Eating Competition". Having campers from Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Britain and America gathered together at our farm all seeking to heal generations of hatred, I felt so insignificant. In light of their struggles, and their drive to heal nations, my disdain for that wily groundhog just outside our field seemed suddenly . . . well, dumb!
Having such a representation from all around the world at our farm I felt the need to "amuse them".
When a young man from Israel asked, “Can you eat these?” (Referring to a rather small earthworm).
What was I supposed to do, lie??
“Of course you can! They’re just protein.”
He asked if you could eat them, not if you should eat them! And so after handing me an earthworm, he told me that if I ate mine he would eat his. How many people in their lifetimes get to create the bonds of peace and brotherhood by eating worms with people from the other side of the planet? What was I going to do, say no?!? So I ate it . . . and then so did he.
What was at first, for most of the group, the grossest thing they had ever witnessed, quickly became a mad scramble for many of them to find their own earthworms. The senior most camp staff turned a little green at the prospect of this spectacle, but the other two councilors/facilitators assured me that this was a ‘great bonding activity’. Made me wonder a bit about what other things they do up there at camp in the name of peace. . .
At the end, Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Indian, and Afghan guys were eating worms or scrabbling to find them so that they could participate. (I will point out that the ladies in the group, being the much more civilized gender and a bit more cultured just watched and made fun of us!). And so it was that peace and brotherhood were strengthened here at a little farm at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
They say that God works in mysterious ways, and if eating a few earthworms can even start (or help) to break down century old walls and wars, then hey . . . pass the barbecue sauce!