Friday, September 30, 2011

The Power of Food

This week I learned that our three hungry orphan boys often quell their hunger with a local alcoholic brew made from corn. It costs just pennies for a large bowl; perhaps it's even given to them for free. It fills them, dulls their senses, and allows them to sleep without being aware of the gnawing hunger in their stomachs.
As I have reflected on their feeding situation, I have been forced to really look at my own use and mis-use of food.

How often have I discovered a container of moldy food in my fridge? Why do I allow this to happen? I could blame it on the erratic electricity, but let me look a little closer to home and ask why I didn't care enough about using that food before it spoiled.

For years I have not allowed my children to use the phrase, "I'm starving," when they really mean "I'm hungry." Should we even be allowed to use the phrase "I'm hungry"? Maybe it would be more accurate to say, "I'd like something to eat."

How many times have I said, "There's nothing to eat in this house." No longer can I say such a thing. Even when there's 'nothing' in the house, there is still something.

Today my helper made a big batch of moi-moi (pronounced moy-moy) to take to my children's school for a celebration of Nigerian Independence Day. Moi-moi is basically steamed bean cakes. She took black-eyed peas (beans), 'washed' them until the outer casings came off, added onions, hot peppers, and salt; then blended it all together. She put the liquid in clear plastic bags with a chunk of boiled egg, and then boiled it until it became firm. Moi-moi is really a delicious, filling meal.

I took a bunch of moi-moi to Bezer Home for the three orphan boys and another family that is also hungry. I discreetly gave it to them, and they sat down and ate it in a quiet corner. About ten minutes later, I was shocked when I saw the two oldest boys swinging on the swing set with great fervor. And the youngest was contentedly sitting against the water tank looking at a book from school. This behavior was such a marked contrast to their normal look that it gave me pause. For now, it's really that simple: food brings joy and contentment and strength.

We are currently working on a plan to help the older boy earn some money on a daily basis. Our goal is always to encourage self-sufficiency and not dependency. Obviously with young orphaned children, there is a place for handouts.  One of their older sisters will be joining the sewing program next week. Through that program she will be able to earn money to help herself and her brothers. In the meantime though we'll be bridging the gap.

No comments: