All the Hungry People, Where Do They All Come From?

February 8, 2010
It is quite a different feeling, starving is. Yes, you feel hungry, but you get used to that after a while. Then comes some pain, which isn’t too bad as long as you can hold down a Tylenol or two. But the fatigue, there’s no escape from that. You feel more tired by the hour; the world itself seems to move slower. You no longer care about the food; you just want to return to bed. Oh, and you can’t concentrate long enough to even finish reading this paragraph.

How would I know? Quite honestly, I can’t imagine living hungry every day of my life. Ever. I did, however, get to taste a bit of the hunger others are feeling at this moment when I participated in the 30 Hour Famine, a program sponsored by World Vision and enacted by my church. We got to starve (I say “got to” because it is the truth, saying “had to” would be inappropriate) for thirty horrendously long hours, participating in service projects and various other activities during the time. But what we did, that was nothing. Why? Well, let their story begin…

Africa was not always so poor, compared to the rest of the world. When it comes down to it, their first issue was agriculture. The early people in Europe had forests; the early people in Africa had deserts. The early people in Europe had ideal rains; the early people in Africa had many times sparse or excessive rains. The early people in Europe were able to make settlements; the early people in Africa continued to live nomadically. If anything was the root of the problems in Africa, it’s the geography. No one can eat gold, diamonds and oil. And that’s that.

Now, this does not mean Africa is hopeless by any means. In fact, their condition is more hopeful than ever. The early Africans may not have been able to effectively plant crops, but now, with more advanced technology (such as irrigation systems fed by wells and newer farming systems) their land is able to be used for food. But because they had to wait for mankind to develop these ideas before they were able to consider flourishing, they were exploited by those living on the rich land. Their relatively useless diamonds and oil were taken without the fair exchange of food. And, with this late start at colonization and such an early start at exploitation, we find Africa in the predicament they are in now.

Every 5 seconds a child dies from hunger. A child with a family, future, and possibilities, gone only because of the country in which they were born. Each and every one of us has already won the lottery, just because we do not need to pray for a meal the next morning. We don’t live our day to day lives travelling miles for water just to quench our thirst, or wishing for just one good meal on our birthday. We don’t feel hunger; we don’t end up sleeping in the middle of the empty dirt road because the sun is too hot and the pain is too hard and the fatigue is to overpowering. Every 5 seconds, another child is dead. A friend, a son, a daughter, a sibling. Dead without the chance to live.

The most disturbing part is how incredibly preventable the entire issue is. One dollar will feed a starving child for an entire day, or buy a teenager that “needed” coke. The average American spends $7 per day on food, even more when eating at restaurants. All of the food and sanitation needs in the entire world could be met with 13 billion US dollars, the amount of money all the people in the US and European Union spend on perfume over the course of a year. Thirty dollars will feed a child for a month, yet we spend our thirty dollars on video games, movies, books, clothing, and even accessories, while every 5 seconds another child dies.

The truth is, we can all make a difference. And we need to. Sponsor a child, feed them. Donate a well, a fishing pond, a duck. Remember that to the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world. You can save one of those five second children. I have, and trust me, it’s more rewarding than a new pair of blue jeans.





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