Friday, April 18, 2008

Of Food Riots and Starvation

As I write this blog, I am sitting in a nice, simple suburban home near Chicago. I have not yet eaten breakfast, but the possibilities are laid out on the kitchen counter, cereal, oatmeal, toast, granola bars, fruit. Basic, but plentiful.

Multiple restaurants are nearby, fast food, pizza, American, Chinese, and I have enough money, I could eat at any one of them for lunch. I could probably even pay for you to join me!

The grocery stores shelves are full, and on par with American prices, an average serving of fresh fruit or vegetable is less than twenty five cents.

I probably won't eat the American average of 200 pounds of meat this year, but mostly because I don't want to, not because I can't.

So as I look at the newspaper for the first time since I left Nicaragua, I am amazed to find this article 'Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger' on the front page.

I had heard rumors of food riots from the people I've been with over the last week, one from a friend who is in the process of adopting a little girl from Haiti, and another from a friend who is extensively involved in fundraising work for Haiti's neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

But the reason this article brought it home is because you need to realize this is affecting everyone. This isn't just a few countries.

Since last October, the price of beans in Nicaragua has risen above that of meat. Some would say then to simply buy meat, but the reason Nicaraguans didn't do that in the first place is because they can't afford to. They simply don't have the money.

At NPH we have the fortune of being supported by incredible people, so while we've changed our diet, there are new kinds of beans and different recipes are being stretched, we are not, nor are our children suffering from malnutrition.

But what happens to a country that goes hungry is bad for everyone. Economies are dragged down, governments are overthrown, education becomes an unattainable luxury in the daily struggle to survive.

And while I have a secret dream that Americans would help others out of the goodness of their heart and desire to live what they proclaim is a christian life, I would like to point out that if nothing else, Americans need to remember that our destiny is tied to our neighbors. As Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America go up and down, reach stability or overthrow governments, this affects us greatly.

So if you want to, please contribute to one of the many organizations that help feed the hungry in our world like Heifer International or Oxfam.

But no matter what, before you put that bite of food, please be grateful for the incredible gift of privilege you are being given in that small package.


Anonymous said...

This is very intriguing, and how very right you are. Every once in awhile I will remember just how fortunate and priviledged I am in my life, even in the seemingly worst of times. It is never often enough that we realize just how many people (and animals too) around us have it far worse than we do, and struggle in ways that we cannot even begin to fathom. I commend the work that you have done, and the superb documentation of the progress made. You should be very proud, it's amazing stuff, and inspiring to read about! On a side note, welcome back to the states! I can imagine how the transition back, whether or not it is to be a brief one, must be further accentuated by your extended experience abroad... your mind must be swimming with all sorts of things! -Matt

Nic said...

Thanks Matt, there was a quote repeated many times during our time there as we struggled with the extremely different lives we had chosen and what they meant. "What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God." attributed to Mother Teresa.