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Justice League – Fightin’ Friday

by in Events, Features, Justice Calendar

May 14, 2010

Justice Focus - Food & WaterMay Focus on Food & Water

Ever heard kids say “that’s not fair” their sister or brother may have got a bit more mint choc ice cream than them, just because that’s the way it fell off the spoon when mum dished it out, and in that moment of crying “not fair” their voices get loud, tears come, and perhaps even a physical tantrum gets danced out.

Now supersize that. In the global size of things there are sisters and brothers in the global family that feast, have every choice of food accessible, bread stacks the shelves, fruit and vegetables no matter what the season are all there for the picking at the grocery store, rice, pasta, meats, all the essential nutritious food, all our taste bud luxuries like sugar rich foods, all the indulgences. All available.

Spin the globe and land in a country where any of the following are factors, there is drought, famine, natural disaster, lack of health, unstable governments who do not spend resources on farming, education or hospitals. Markets have little or no food available. A family may be surviving on small portions of rice, grains, beans, a few vegetables.

To get a picture of how unfair the global food crisis compare a typical North American diet and the meal of a African woman.

So just how much junk food does the average person in the West eat in a year? What’s on the menu, mabye a Tim Hortons muffin for breakfast, lunch is at Subway go easy on the dressing, and for dinner… pizza.

  • 50 pounds of cookies and cakes
  • 100 pounds of refined sugar
  • 55 pounds of fat and oil
  • 300 containers of soda
  • 200 sticks of chewing gum
  • 20 gallons of ice cream
  • 5 pounds of potato chips
  • 18 pounds of candy
  • 2 pounds of popcorn
  • unknown quantity of pretzels and a wide variety of snack foods

Source: Elkort, Martin. The Secret Life of Food, 1991, p. 125.

Compare the story this list tells us to Rita’s story, told by a Western volunteer in Africa. Rita, was a woman of 30 some years old, she did not remember exactly when she was born, “what does it matter, I am thankful that I am alive” she said. She had a nice shining face, a big smile, the eyes however were surrounded by years of struggle, and yet she could laugh at life.

I was walking by her dwelling the way back to my car. She had her charcoal cooker blazing, I could tell she was making matoke (bananas 85% water and then some starch, they are green and are peeled, mashed and steamed under banana leaves inside of a steel or aluminum pot). There were also some red beans that due to the moisture and rain had little white spots on them signifying that some maggots had come and taken residence in them.

I stopped and greeted her; she welcomed me and invited me to eat with them. I declined but engaged in a conversation. Her husband had recently died of AIDS, she was taking care of three children from the marriage and two others that were orphans and had been born to her sister who had died of AIDS.

I asked her what she did to buy things and live here. She told me that she at times worked cleaning a house and ironing for a well to do African woman and at times received some food from her mother who lived in Masaka out in the country and had a plot of land on which she could grow maize for posho (a what I call a glue like substance that fills your stomach) and also had some Matoke plants, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, and other things like beans.

All she had tonight was matoke and beans, I saw some bread by the door, that was it. No milk, no meat, just enough to fill for the night. I asked her what she would eat in the morning. She smiled and said something about Chai (tea with milk, she had no milk and sugar). And tomorrow what will you eat during the day. She laughed again, and said something about “God will provide.” I told her I would be back and back I came after visiting a local supermarket. She looked at me and said with a big smile, “I told you God would provide.” She made me smile.

1) Pray
Rita’s story holds so much faith, join Rita and the thousands, millions, like her who are struggling to find the resources to feed their families.

We pray for access to good healthy nutritious food. May their plate never be empty. God provide.
We pray for our choices in the West that we would understand that we are fortunate to have access to food. Help us to make wise choices, help us to not take more than we need. Let us be aware of our global brothers and sisters. Let us be people that pray for change, that act for change, that see change in our lifetime. Let there be an end of the feast and famine, let there be equality.

2) Play the Free Rice website game
The more questions you answer correctly the more rice the sponsors send to the World Food Program is to distribute.

3) Check out GCAP
Find out more ways to take action on the global food crises here.

4) Host an action party
Only eat rice. No cookies or sweets allowed. Raise money by playing trivial pursuit, or another game, for each question you get wrong you have to pay 25cents. Make the goal to buy an agricultural set from World Vision to send to a farmer to grow food for their family. World Vision catalogue

The World Bank
The World Food Program
Free Rice Game
UN News Centre – the global food crisis
World Vision catalogue

See May’s full justice post with all the details here

Drop by next Friday for another post with actions you can take & prayer suggestions

This post was submitted by Zoe Fay.

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