filling the empty nest with food
Food and eating take on a whole new meaning once you spend time in a poor country, particularly in a country like Haiti which is one of the poorest in the world. I’ve just returned from a visit there for work.
A daily lunch of rice, beans, and a chicken leg in Haiti tastes delicious when you’re grateful you have food. What difference can it possibly make that it’s the same meal every day?
The challenge is to keep the gratitude alive after return to the US amid more food choices than a person can count.
Now back home, I feel out of sorts and troubled in my own skin. It’s not an uncommon reaction. As a well-off white person, I’ve had poverty and want personalized. It’s individual people–women, men, mothers, babies, husbands, sisters, aunts and grandmothers–who live and love and die and don’t have enough to eat. For me, the discomfort I now feel comes from the quick transition between the hard, hard life in Haiti and the wealth of the US. Inexplicable extremes.
I know many people have experienced such troubling thoughts before me, so I’m not writing to impart something new or teach a lesson. I’m wanting to keep the experience and lessons alive in my life. The realities of hunger, deprivation, and malnutrition are so stark and so unmistakably clear when you’re in their midst and fade quickly in our abundantly overfed first world.
I imagine some of you have traveled to or lived in developing countries. Do you have wisdom to share on this front?