Every once in a while your kid teaches you a lesson rather than the other way around. Last night was one of those moments.
A school project required some community service. Expat girl always worries about how the many homeless survive in this city. The weather forecast had announced a particularly cold weekend, so we stepped into action by asking our local bakeries (there are over 32'000 in the whole of France) if they were willing to give us their left-over sandwiches (the real French ones made with a baguette) free of charge at the end of the day. The five 12-year old girls planned to accomplish their community service action by handing food to the many men and women who look for shelter under the shopping arcades in our neighbourhood at night.
Some boulangers agreed half-heartedly others with a smile but in the end we had collected over 50 sandwiches in 1/2 hour and set off at 4°C looking for the clochards. Needless to say many of them had decided to move house given the drastic drop in temperature. The few that braved the cold night were either thankful to receive some dinner or were already asleep and hiding under their sleeping bags on the bare stone floors.
We spent two hours walking through the cold night roaming the streets and with still some sandwiches left, I tried to image where a beggar without a roof over his head would turn to... the church, of course.
We found a convent and handed the left-over sandwiches to the nuns for them to distribute the next day. Despite feeling cold and tired, the girls were foremost happy that their objective in distributing all the sandwiches they had managed to retrieve was attained. And although the ultimate goal was to accomplish a good deed, the girls enjoyed themselves in doing so. It was a "non threatening" experiences that hopefully equips them for future projects of this nature.