Friday, March 1, 2013

Chicken 'n' Waffles

by Justin Thomas

Growing up in the southern city of Atlanta, it is not uncommon for me to hear, “I am in the mood for some chicken n’ waffles”. There are many restaurants within the city of Atlanta and throughout the United States where one can go eat an amazing chicken n’ waffle meal. Well a little of over a week ago when I was in Granada, Nicaragua, a few of my classmates and I, along with our professor and colleagues from Wake Forest Law School, decided to go to a locally infamous waffle restaurant for lunch. This restaurant had all types of waffles. From chocolate waffles to pecan waffles, the menu provided a variety of options from which one could happily choose. I was so excited to see the choices, when suddenly the desire for chicken ‘n’ waffles slapped me right in the face.  I looked the menu up and down to see if they just happened to have it on their menu. To my disappointment this delicious staple item that I could easily find in the States was nowhere to found.

Then, like the Saturday morning cartoons, a light bulb went off. I looked on the menu and I saw they offered a chicken sandwich and they offered waffles. With the help from the law professor that accompanied us, I was able to tell the server to use the chicken breast for the sandwich and put it on top of the waffle.
It took the staff a minute to comprehend what I was trying to do, but they were able to comply.  About 15 minutes later the server comes out with chicken n’ waffles just for me.

Something as simple as being able to order chicken n’ waffles represents the little things I take for granted in my own culture. The crazy thing is, I was able to introduce a staple dish from my culture to another just because I had a taste for it at that time. But there are other simple things I take for granted--like
free public transportation for students to go to high school so they can further their education. It was sad to find out that Nicaraguans who live in remote villages had no way of getting to high school unless their families could afford the same transportation that comes through the village to pick up the men and take them to the sugar plantations early in the morning.  I had the privilege of meeting a couple of young women who desperately wanted to come to the States to attend a university.  How could that desire ever become a reality if they cannot even afford a bus ride to school?   A simple desire for chicken n’ waffles was granted in minutes, and as I reflect on the enjoyment of that one desire, I realized the simple desire for those young women to attend high school and a university here in the States is not one that can be met in like fashion. We take for granted so many little things because we are worried about “bigger” things, while at the same time there are people who simply wish they could get a seat on a school bus.

We may have problems in our lives but if we started focusing on the little things we have, no matter what we are going through, we will recognize we are truly blessed.  So the next time you put your child on a school bus, or make a special request from a restaurant’s menu (whether it is fast food or five star) take a moment to give thanks for the little things, and pray for those people across this world who would give anything to have some of your same, simple opportunities.

Justin Thomas is an intern for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina and a third-year student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He wrote this blog after completing a Nicaragua Immersion course in January 2013. This post originally appeared on the blog for the course,

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