The expression “food for thought” is a privilege of the language of the elite. If you’re hungry, food is about survival and certainly not a matter of cerebral jumping jacks or playful linguistic exercises.
I’m worried today. The ‘food news’ from the Horn of Africa is ramping up – food insecurity is on the rise. When food is in scarce supply, suffering is an every day experience.
The BBC reported this: “the eastern Horn of Africa “has experienced two consecutive seasons of significantly below-average rainfall, resulting in one of the driest years since 1995”. They added that the crops have failed and local cereal prices remain very high. The food reports from fewsnet are featured on the USAID page and include a map of the areas under serious threat of devastating famine.
I have a pretty good sense that this blog is read by a number of adoptive families who have been entrusted the care of children from the areas in crisis on the map. If your families are like our family, we made some promises to our Horn of Africa beloveds. Those promises were both explicit (you will know our son through annual communications) and implicit (we promise to care for the future of Ethiopia – in word and in deed). Thus, I’m worried. More worried than usual. Ramped up worried. And, we promised to carry our worry into action.
I received this report from a friend on the ground in the area where my son was born: “There is drought in Southern Ethiopia because the rain was too late this year. [The rain] is started but farming inputs like fertilizers and seeds are so expensive. Most people do not able to farm their lands. Also the price for the foods are tripled because of bad policy of gov. and inflation. The free market policy give right to elites to do what they like. This time there is no sugar and cooking oil in [ southern area village] even for expensive prices. It is difficult time for children and aged people. Some children are in an urgent needs. We do not know what is going [to happen]. ”
This picture was attached to the e-mail to demonstrate concern for conditions in southern Ethiopia- – the skin around the knees is loose and showing signs of malnutrition. I can see it. And I’m scared. For a family I love. For the people I love. For the work of social justice and food security everywhere. I don’t HAVE to know them to care…but in this case the knowing, the heart link, makes me weep. Injustice sucks.
I’ve got an e-mail in at Doctors Without Borders to see who is on the ground and where in Ethiopia. More generally, where around the Horn of Africa, too.
I wanted you to know. All of you. I don’t have a plan of action. Yet.
I’m doing some serious work to recruit a triathlete who will compete in Janus Charity Challenge’s new venue – the Life Time triathlon. Janus is now partnering with the Life Time triathlon series. I’d like to have an athlete for MSF and an athlete for AHOPE for Children compete for the charity purses in the Life Time triathlon events. Do you know any athletes registered for a Life Time triathlon? If so, we could tackle getting some food aid to the people of the Horn of Africa and some support to the vulnerable children and the families who are supported by AHOPE for Children. You can read what seems like a bazillion posts on this blog (search for Doctors Without Borders/ Plumpy’Nut/ and Janus Charity Challenge) to learn more about the history of how to raise money through the Janus Charity Challenge. (Edited to add – we have an athlete for MSF! It’s our 4th annual fundraiser!). Live link here: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorreg/donorpledge.asp?ievent=469399&supID=330432677
It’s not like I don’t have enough on my plate already…. see, right there! Another example of the language of privilege as I think about what to do and how to mix and mesh the concerns of my community right here in my neighborhood and over there, in the neighborhood in which he was born. Today is pressing upon me. Today there is no ‘food for thought’, only ‘food for life.’ Let’s figure it out – let’s do the work. Fill the plate.