Kimchi made by love melts frozen hearts in cold winter

In the fable of “The Sun and the Wind” that competed to take off the jacket of a passer-by, the Sun won over the Wind. That day when the kimch-making festival was held, it was very cold for early winter. However the warmth of love of the participants won over the cold on this day, too.

The temperature dropped to -10℃ [14℉], but Zahng Gil-jah, Chairwoman of the IWF, and 170 members’ love for neighbors even calmed down the piercing wind. In this festival the wives of foreign diplomats in Korea participated. They had a wonderful time, experiencing Korean culture. The vocalist Namgung Ok-bun and the actress Kim Ji-yu also attended the festival as the IWF PR ambassadors. Chairwoman Zahng said, “I hope our neighbors in need will enjoy this kimch made with true love, and have warm winter.”

The IWF members, who attended the kimchi-making festival around this time last year, arrived at the place early and prepared for making kimch. All the vegetables and spices were high quality local farm products from the Okcheon members: 2,000 salted Korean cabbages, 500 bunches of radish and the spices were cordially prepared for three days.

Around 10:30 a.m. all materials were prepared, and the participants started to make kimch. While making kimch with foreigners, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah taught them how to make kimch and explained that Korean kimch is healthy and full of love of a mother. The foreigners who tasted kimch for the first time favorably commented on its freshness and taste. The wives of diplomats were very excited to make kimch the traditional Korean food, and be able to help their unfortunate Korean neighbors as well. They didn’t stop laughing, saying how happy they were.

During making kimchi, foreign tourists who were visiting the Korean House Village showed their interest and took pictures of the participants who were making kimchi. Some were not just content with taking pictures, and put on an apron and tried kimch-making. Among them, Atarman Erkul from Turkey expressed his thanks by helping the staff clean up after the event finished. He said, “Tomorrow I’ll leave for Turkey. Today is the last day of my 10 day visit to Korea and the best day ever in Korea. I’m so happy to experience Korean culture unexpectedly and help people in need as well.” He added that this event got him thinking about how he could help people in need when he returned to Turkey.

Actress Kim Ji-yu, who made kimch for the first time in her life, also encouraged our neighbors in need, saying, “Recently, the economy has become so bad and the weather is getting cold. I hope our neighbors will overcome this harsh winter with this kimch that contains the love of a mother.”

The kimch-making festival finished, not only delivering the love of a mother to our neighbors, but also making known the most traditional Korean food to the world. The kimchi was put into 500 boxes and distributed to 500 families living at Jung-gu, Nowon-gu and Jungnang-gu in Seoul.

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah together with Kim Ji-yu visited senior citizens who were living alone and presented them rice, kimch and some other gifts on behalf of the IWF members who wanted to share love with their neighbors, and wished them good health and a warm winter. Sim Bok-seob, Manager of Service Link in Jung-gu, Seoul, showed his appreciation to the IWF’s volunteer work for the residents in his district, saying, “I’m happy that our neighbors are able to spend this winter without worrying about side dish thanks to the kimchi which is the main side dish during winter. I feel true love from the IWF members who are making efforts to live together rather than alone.”

Choi Yun-mi (82), a senior citizen living along in Jungnang-gu, Seoul, couldn’t hold back her tears after receiving a kimch box. She said, “Nobody visits me. You are like my sons and daughters.” That day, the kimchi was not just side dish, but love that filled the lonely hearts of our neighbors. This winter is more bone-chilling because of the worldwide economic crisis. IWF will continue to share love with our underprivileged neighbors in the world.