John froze. It was that horrible bully Aaron again.
“What’s for lunch?” Aaron smirked. John tried to run but Aaron was too fast for him.
“No!” John cried. “Don’t take my lunch box!”
Aaron just laughed and snatched it from him as usual. John felt pangs of hunger and shame because he allowed Aaron to take away the food that Mom made for him —tangy tamarind rice, oranges, and delicious brownies.
While Aaron ran away to target other kids, John sat dejectedly in a corner. His heart was racing and he felt so helpless. That’s when he felt someone staring at him, someone he knew but hadn’t really noticed before. It was Maya, a girl from another class. She gave him a tiny smile. He smiled back, not wanting to let his feelings show.
“I know how bad you feel,” she said.
“I’m fine,” John mumbled. “It doesn’t bother me.”
“Okay, do you want to share my lunch? Mom gave me a lot and I can’t eat everything myself,” Maya said. John’s stomach was rumbling, and though he wanted to be nonchalant, the offer was too tempting to refuse.
Maya and John began lunching on chapattis with channa, followed by chocolate cake, and juice. Just when they’d gotten halfway through, in walked Aaron — and they froze in horror as he strode straight towards them with a big smirk on his face. “Ooh, what have we here?” he said. “I want it.”
Before John could react, Maya got up with a ferocious look on her face. “No!” she said, firmly, looking him in the eye.
“You won’t take our lunch.”
“Oh yeah? Well, stop me,” Aaron sneered.
Maya broke off a piece of creamy chocolate cake and smeared it on Aaron’s face. The kids nearby started giggling, for they all disliked the bully. Aaron looked stunned for a moment, then made a grab for Maya, but John leapt between them and drew himself up to his fullest height. Though he was smaller than Aaron, he looked daggers at the bully.
Several other children lined up with John and Maya, confronting Aaron.
Aaron’s face crumpled and he moved away, muttering. John never lost his lunch again, he and Maya became close friends.
Arrange a Friendship Feast in class. Let each student bring a dish of food from home.
Arrange benches and chairs around the class, so that the kids can eat in a circle. Let each one introduce the dish they have brought, telling the others something about its significance in their home and a couple of health facts. Then they can pass it around for others to taste.
It will be fun tasting the cuisines of their classmates.