Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There is a different face on the problem of hunger here. It isn't the Omar of Feed My Starving Children nor the dirty African child that we might see on TV. Hunger isn't just distended bellies and eating dirt, though it definitely and sadly includes such things. Hunger isn't something deserved, nor is it reserved for the dumb, lazy, colored, or pagan. A child who has only eaten dirt today may not be hungry, but she is malnourished. The same concept occurs here. In La Paz, potatoes, rice, and bread are fairly easy to come by and fairly inexpensive. So why are most of the women who are begging on the streets rather large? They don't look like they are wasting away. Hunger is deceiving. These women may only be eating carbohydrates, which bloat their bodies but offer no protein. Lack of protein causes all kinds of problems, including water retention, which may be part of the reason the women here don't look hungry. Hunger here affects men differently. It is an interesting pattern. The men on the streets look thin, the women look heavier. However, both genders are affected in height. I have seen some women who don't even come up to my chin! And we all walk together on the same streets, the rich, the poor, the hungry, the fed, the gringos, the Bolivians. Not all Bolivians are hungry. But it isn't hard to spot one who could be blessed by a meal. Perhaps when we see a hungry person we should not see them as hungry, but as a person. Such a stigma. How can we be so petty? They are people. Let's treat them as such. Perhaps we should follow Christ's lead and prepare a banquet feast for them and love them as Jesus does. Not to validate our wealth by offering a handout. Not to look compassionate, but to be compassionate. Not to appear pious, but to honor Christ. A face may be hungry, but hunger isn't a face. Hunger doesn't have a face. A person has a face.
Posted by Bethany at 4:39 PM