Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Jam Wonder Feeds 1,000

A P4C Stimulus suitable for Key Stages 1-5
Written by Mark Charman and based on the true life adventures of Jam Wonder 

 Jam Wonder: the little Ethiopian. The adventurous boy from the slum who sparkles with optimism like the majestic Blue Nile River running freely through his land was, on a warm November day, challenged by the power of choice. He had received a gift of £5 to spend as he wished. 
This was a lot of money in the local Ethiopian currency of ‘Birr’ and with it, Jam Wonder, a boy with no toys, could buy lots of wonderful playthings, or twenty tasty sugar canes. He could even buy five hundred scrumptious biscuits! However, a new pair of comfy black shoes was what Jam Wonder really wanted. His were heavily worn just as were many of his friends’ shoes, broken badly with ragged holes at the ends the size of bruised toes. Oh how Jam Wonder longed for a new pair of comfy black shoes for walking to school.

That afternoon, Jam Wonder set off for the market, heading in and out of all the shoe shops he could see. He looked here, he looked there, but he could not find the shoes he wanted. So still wearing his dusty old shoes, he wandered back to the small, two-roomed home he shared with his ten relatives and began to think. He thought all night. He thought into the next new morning until the cock in his back yard crowed. He thought on his way to school and once he had arrived and sat at his school desk, he continued to think there too. As he reflected, he drew a flower.

“What kind of happiness does a flower signify?” wondered Jam Wonder...

...“What is happiness?”

Jam Wonder imagined wearing a new pair of comfy black shoes. “This would make me very happy!” he thought.

Then floating into glorious daydream, Jam Wonder imagined he had even more money. Money to buy a bicycle which he would ride to school on every day! “This would make me very, very happy!” he thought.
However, once Jam Wonder tired of his fantasies, he wondered, “How will I feel once I have bought everything? Will money buy me happiness forever?”

Jam Wonder began to focus on his school work, though he kept these questions simmering in the back of his mind for the rest of his day, sometimes gazing out of the window across his home city of Addis Ababa in search of inspiration.

By the time school had finished, Jam Wonder had made a powerful choice. He had decided how to spend his £5. He would not buy a new pair of comfy black shoes. He chose not to buy lots of wonderful playthings or twenty tasty sugar canes. He did not even consider buying five hundred scrumptious biscuits. He had chosen to buy something else entirely different.

Jam Wonder headed towards his new treasure.

On route, he walked past beggars on the streets pleading for money to spend on food. He saw children even poorer than he was crying with hunger, and he bowed his head with respect as he walked past grown men and women with limbs missing, hobbling past on their elbows and knees.

Jam Wonder walked and walked until eventually he arrived at an Ethiopian Meal Centre. This was a place where very hungry people, desperately in need of a nutritious meal could eat, that is, if they had a meal ticket ... meal tickets that were priced at 2 ½ pence each.

“Please can I buy two hundred meal tickets?” asked Jam Wonder.

“Yes” said the man in charge at the Meal Centre, “That’ll cost £5 exactly and there are some people around the corner who could use your meal tickets if you’d like to go and see”.

Peeking from around the corner of the Meal Centre with his two hundred meal tickets in hand, Jam Wonder saw a large gathering of dusty, hungry Ethiopians. One thousand Ethiopians, all in need of food. Fixed in his gaze on all the people before him, Jam Wonder began to give away his tickets. The crowd swelled and the little boy became besieged, though he stood steady and strong at the centre.

Some passers-by sensed an appetite of excitement in the air and asked what was happening. “It’s that little boy” said one man. “Look what he’s doing.”

And at that moment, a seemingly miraculous ripple effect occurred.

The first passer-by bought another two hundred tickets and he gave them all to Jam Wonder, asking him to feed more people. Another passer-by bought even more meal tickets and also asked Jam Wonder to carry on. One kind lady who had heard what was happening bought an extra six hundred meal tickets. She gave them to Jam Wonder and the little boy stood tall handing out ticket after ticket until there were no more people to give tickets to.

And the people began to eat.

Not one single person from the crowd of one thousand hungry Ethiopians went without a meal that evening. A meal that started with a choice made by a little boy sitting in school one afternoon.

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