We’re so happy to share that we had the magical chance to host Karma Kitchen this Friday at Govinda’s restaurant in Dubai. Karma Kitchen is an experiment in generosity that has been hosted over the years in many parts of the world. At Karma Kitchen, volunteers take over a restaurant and bring their warmth, smiles and love to the restaurant experience. It’s all about giving and the menu has no price tags on it. The surprise at the end of the meal is that guests find out that their meal has already been paid for by someone who came before them and we’re just inviting them to pay it forward for someone else to keep the circle of giving going.
We were 14 volunteers who served around 100 guests with the help of 5 service superstars from the Govindas team and their incredible behind the scenes kitchen team. Volunteer slots were full however two lovely people, Sam and Priya turned up super excited and asked if they could join. It worked perfectly, we even happened to have two extra T-shirts.
The evening started with a beautiful circle where volunteers shared why they were called to serve at Karma Kitchen. We meditated together to get centred in a space of love before we were ready to serve.
Some guests came in knowing what it was all about and others walked straight into a surprise, completely confused by all the unfamiliar but smiling faces. Many of them were seated at community tables sharing space, food and conversation with absolute strangers. You could see them smile shyly at each other as they offered food around the table. Guests were taken aback when presented with the AED 0 bill that also came with a note from someone who had paid for their meal. We were heartened to watch many of them enthusiastically writing up a note that they left along with their contribution for the next person.
We were happy to reconnect with this beautiful family who’d been to a previous Karma Kitchen. The father and son had been surprised by the last Karma Kitchen at Pantry Cafe and were super happy that it was happening again so they could bring along their wife/mother to experience the magic too. Stories like this really move our hearts.
The volunteers had an amazing time, bonding with guests and with each other over the new experience of serving and just by being in a space that was abundant in smiles.
Govinda’s gifted us volunteers dinner and it was amazing to end the evening with a delicious meal and shared reflections from the night. What really stood out for a lot of us volunteers was the support from the Govinda’s team. They’d hosted us amateur waiters with such grace and warmth and never for a second had us feeling incompetent (even though we might have been). They were completely on top of service, invisibly filling in all the spaces that we’d forgot to fill, perfecting the flow and all of this with such warmth and kindness. We volunteers were there to practice our own giving by serving with smiles and were humbled to realise that the team at Govinda’s did this on a daily basis with hearts full of love.
It was a gorgeous experience that’s created priceless memories!