Update: Fast Food Debate
“People in Kathmandu seem to use horns more than they use the steering wheels,” commented one of the American participants of the debate on March 20. She was one of the 13 high school students from Caitlin Gabel, a high school in Portland, Oregon in America, who teamed up with 14 Nepali students to talk about the fast food industry, and how it has affected both parts of the world. They also talked about the garbage problem, environmental issues, and load shedding (a new term for the American kids).
The discussion was a unique exchange since the groups came from two very different backgrounds. The Kathmandu youth recently saw the coming of KFC, Pizza Hut, and the surge of corporate food culture to their city, while the American youth belong to Portland, a city well known for being a progressive and environmentally conscious, where all things local, organic, and fair-trade thrive. They too have tons of fast food places, but they are not really big fans.
So their advice? Some ways to deal with the dominance of fast food culture is to have gardens at home and support locally owned restaurants and farmers, like they do in Portland.
After a quick discussion of Food, Inc., which both groups watched prior to their gathering, each student from Caitlin Gabel was paired with a student from Nepal. They were given an hour to produce a five minute radio broadcast using a prop, quote, and a randomly assigned topic, all of which had something to do with food. Props ranged from a spoon to a telephone cord to a calculator.
Participants came up with themes ranging from interviewing Geri Halliwell during her visit to Nepal and Goddess Kumari on her say of Millennium Development Goals, to talking on Ergonomics and water-borne diseases to inventing a new form of potato called Syntato (a genetically modified potato). A group even managed to come up with a story about the Dalai Lama and President Obama getting locked in a room to discuss food.
The connection between the Nepalese and the American youth was an awesome experience for both the groups, and while both the groups learned about each other, including issues that are important to each.
We would like to extend a huge thanks to David Ellenberg of Caitlin Gabel for his role in making this happen as well as Today’s Youth Asia for providing us a venue. Also, many thanks to Janice Wong, Director of Operations at World Pulse for bringing the two group together.
See some photos and impressions from the American students on the Caitlin Gable blog.
Photos from the event, taken by Rishi Amatya:
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