Would You Eat That

By
Food. Everyone needs it. Everything needs it. Food is a term that most middle to upper class Americans would argue is concrete; food is food. To most Americans, say the word food and images like cheese burgers with fries, hot apple pies; thick, juicy steaks with potatoes come to mind. Ask the starving people of third world countries what comes to mind and their frail, thin bodies with growling stomachs probably don’t think of steak. Food, a word that seems concrete in its meaning but can mean a lot more to someone who can’t have it.

My friend Nancy, a thirty year old middle class woman who wants to make a difference in the world, went to The Dominican Republic about a year ago. She is a committed Buddhist and a registered nurse who feels like her place in the world is to help others who are less fortunate. The Dominican Republic is a third world country and although it is considered one of the fastest growing economic countries right now, a little over 30% of its population lives in extreme poverty. Nancy went there to work in the clinics to help sick and dying people. She came back from the experience with a new perspective on life and with horrifying pictures. While working there, on a good day, four to five people would die of starvation or malnutrition. I saw pictures of full grown men who probably didn’t even weigh 60lbs with their hair falling out along with their rotted teeth, little kids whose legs looked so skinny is was amazing they could stand on them. Food to these starving people was rotted fruit, discolored, wrinkled and infested with maggots, any sort of edible, living plant they could find in their hot, dry country, and sometimes they were even hungry enough to eat their own, smelly, sticky, digested fecal matter. None of that, to me or anyone else in this country would even considered edible. Its garbage, inedible, stuff you would walk on and never think twice about doing so. Food to these people is anything they can find, anything that will take the aching pain away from their stomach, anything to tide them over, hoping it won’t kill them, anything that doesn’t wreak enough to gag down.

Anorexia and bulimia are big issues in America and through out the world. People feel the need to deprive themselves of food in order to look the way the world expects them to. In the Dominican Republic, anorexia is a huge problem, but not by anyone’s choice. It fascinates me that so many people take advantage of and deprive themselves of something that so many people want and need. The people who bother me most are the ones who nit pick at every detail of their food, taking for granted that they are even fortunate enough to have any. I remember being in a sandwich shop one time and the lady in front of me started yelling at the poor guy working because he forgot to grill her wrap. Not only was this a small problem that could have been easily fixed by just asking the boy to grill it, but her act of rage made her look unappreciative and ridiculous. Give that un-grilled wrap to someone who is starving, and they will never even notice that something is wrong with it

Knowing that there are people in the world who are reduced to eating food their bodies have already digested really makes you think about how lucky we are to live in a country where even if you can’t afford food, there are shelters and generous enough people like my friend Nancy to help out. For the people who do have an eating disorder and don’t take advantage of something as necessary as food, maybe they should consider giving to those who aren’t as fortunate as they are. Nearly everyone in the world takes advantage of something, usually it is something to little or common in their day to day lives that they never realize it, but when they do, I hope they stop to appreciate it.





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LuckyNoodle said...
Aug. 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm
Very good article - well throught out, well written. The article also expresses emotion as well and not just words on a page. Well done!
 
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