Making and sharing kimchi in Gaemi Village, 1 December 2012
By Victoria Choi
USAG Humphreys Public Affairs
CAMP HUMPHREYS – “Kimjang” is an event where kimchi, the ubiquitous food in Korean cuisine, is made in preparation for winter. However, making kimchi is a very labor-intensive process so many neighbors divide up the different parts of this process and then make a huge batch for the entire village. In the past, Kimjang was a way to survive the harsh winters and build ties with neighbors.
The Camp Humphreys Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program and the Mannam Volunteer Association worked together to organize a Kimjang event, Dec. 1, for those who wanted to volunteer making and giving away kimchi.
More than 30 Soldiers and civilians of Humphreys Community took part and experienced making kimchi and shared it with the elderly and underprivileged people of Gaemi Maeul, located on the northwest slope of Mount Inwangsan, in Hongje-dong, Seoul.
“The purpose of our Kimjang event was to share the meaning of love and the true meaning of helping, giving, and sharing,” said Charleen Hull, Mannam’s South Branch team leader. “We wanted to share with the people of Gaemi Village, who are financially struggling and unable to support themselves due to being elderly or physically disabled. Many of the elders live alone and go to the hospital every day. They are unable to cook for themselves and too proud to ask for help.”
Specialist Kareen K. Medeiros, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and who serves as the Camp Humphreys BOSS President, said “The BOSS program decided to get together with Mannam for this project because I thought it would be a good thing for some of our military personnel to get involved with the Korean community and to give back. In my opinion it (the Kimjang event) is very important. We are here overseas, in a host country and having to serve with the Korean military. I feel it is a wonderful opportunity for our single Soldiers to come and experience what everyday living is like here in Korea and what better way to do that than to see some of the traditions themselves.”
Private Tony Harrington, assigned to 719th Military Intelligence Battalion, came to the event with his friends and enjoyed making kimchi for the very first time.
“The reason I came here is because I met a lot of good friends during the ‘Troops for Trash’ and they talked me into coming and making kimchi,” said Harrington. “This is my first time in Korea. I have only been here for (about a ) month and a half and I find it quite fine. During my stay here I try to learn more about this country and this is my first experience with kimchi. It is worth a try. So I’m having fun and enjoying making it.”