Monday, May 30, 2016

Comfort Food

This afternoon I was driving back from a doctor's appointment and I was hungry. I had had to fast since last night. Seriously, an 11 am appointment shouldn't mean that I was as hungry as I was but the minute you tell me I can't eat? The chubby girl gets hungry. It's not pretty. It's best to avoid being around me when it happens so thankfully I was alone in the car and contemplating each drive through in the vicinity as I drove home, knowing I have a fridge and pantry full of options.

Again, as it often does, the reality of my life hit me. Luckily, I'm able to drive with eyes full of tears and an aching heart because there I was, somewhere between 8th St and Idylwyld and I realized that after my simple morning of getting up, showering, getting dressed in clean clothes and having access to good medical care, despite the scope the doctor literally wove up my nose and down my throat...I realized how ridiculously fortunate I am and how petty my complaints are.

While I was lamenting a twelve minute drive home on an empty stomach, there are people I love who are walking up to 15 km for the chance that they will get some dirty water from a quickly dwindling water source that they share with multiple communities and the surrounding livestock. Poor me indeed.

Last night, I went to the grocery store late in the evening when the shelves are depleted, and still had a thousand options to fill the cart I wheeled around until I checked out and had the money to pay for it. I remember the days when we were a young family and Jason was in school, and I really held my breath wondering if we had enough money in our account to pay for what was in the cart, despite my best budgeting and pitiful mental math. Once, and only once, was I forced to leave the cart, full of groceries, take my then one-year-old and get in the car, go to the bank and sort out a late deposit, then return to the grocery store to pay in cash. I will never forget the feeling, even though I knew it was an error, it was distressing and I felt like it was the end of the world. 16 years later I can recall that feeling because it was an isolated incident.  Poor me.

I have watched the news for the minimal reports on the ongoing drought in sub-Saharan Africa but it is often pushed off the list of "newsworthy" items by the myriad of dire circumstances around the globe. And yet, there are children that I know by name, whose hands I have held and whose grandmothers have shared with us that are literally going without water and food. There are children in our care that are getting a smaller portion of food from their care workers, and taking half of that home to their grandmother or mother, who may not have eaten in days. Days.

When I think of the amount of food and water that is available to us as a family in our household, I can not imagine what it is like to go to bed with the pain of hunger in your belly and head. Imagine how it affects your thinking or your energy level to rise in the morning with little hope of anything changing, of any water coming available or of any food being consumed. How do you tell your children you love them when all you can think of is how desperately you want to offer them something to eat?

The drought may not make the news daily or even weekly here in North America but it is happening and we can not wait until the images are so disturbing that they are deserving of a place on the news somewhere above the other human rights disasters that are taking place right now.

I'm asking. I'm sincerely asking....is there something that you can go without for a week that would enable you to help? We all have excess. We do. There's no need for Costco in a world that can't afford excess. So, if you have a Costco membership in your wallet, I'm speaking to you. If your kid plays a sport and has a $3 Gatorade after the game or you are a card carrying member of the Starbuck's nation that can preorder a drink by text and walk in without a line up to pick it up? Then I'm speaking to you. I'm not asking you to feel guilty about those things. I'm asking you to feel grateful. Give out of that. Gratitude. Not guilt. Compassion. Not compulsion. Knowledge. Not ignorance.

I'd love to hear what you can give up for a week that will enable you to step into the fight against this incredibly fast moving disaster that is affecting the poorest and most vulnerable  in our communities.

Learn more here. Give here.  I don't have to know that you've given. You'll know. Our kids will know. And the comfort that comes from them knowing that someone outside of their desperate community cares about them? It's immeasurable.

Thank you from the bottom of my aching heart. 

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