HOW FULL IS YOUR PLATE?

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First step: Download the above photo.
Second step: Zoom the photo as much as you can.
Third step: Look at it keenly.

Do you see what I see? This is real. This is our real world.

You know what they usually say? You don’t miss the water until the well runs dry. You can never fathom hunger if you don’t know what it means to stay for two/three consecutive days without a drop of water or a piece of bread. You can never know what it feels like to have your stomach pinching you tightly like it’s about to excrete all your intestines. You can never really understand the value of the food on your plate until the day you probably get lost in a desert and all your water and food runs out.

A few days ago someone was telling me about a child in Samburu who was starving to the extent that his heartbeat rate was so low, people thought he is already dead. Can you imagine how many days this child could have stayed hungry? We fast for 12 hours and the speed at which we want to gulp everything down when we break the fast is supersonic. We want everything our hands can get to. We eat until we can barely breath anymore. Imagine this kind of ‘mini-hunger’ that we experience then triple that; that is what they go through DAILY. And mind you, it could be four/five, infinite times more.

Right now Israel has cut-off the water supply for the Palestinians in West Bank. This is not the first time, not the second and definitely not the last. So many in this same world that we live in stay for days without tasting even the tasteless, dirty, muddy water. Nothing in liquid form. They walk for very long distances in search of water and food. All they see is the mirage. The illusion of water. They think of water. They dream of water. Think of them, the Syrians, the Yemenis, Indians, our own Kenyans. All these countries either in war or in poverty. This is what they go through every single day.

If you are thinking that I am trying to make you guilty then you are on the right track. I am a victim of my own guilt. When your mother tells you just jokingly that there is no food today you will quickly question, “what do you mean there is no food?!” You will be miserable the entire day and probably the next too. “How dare they not cook food?!” You will whine. You will cry. You will not talk to anyone. Then what do you do when you have the food??

See how we go to eat in hotels and restaurants, touch food here and there then leave two potatoes, some soup and the juice only half empty. We pretend to be the elite class. We don’t want to be considered ‘greedy’ by clearing the whole plate so we leave bits of food here and there. I mean, who wants to be seen as ‘hungry?’ All we want to do is touch the expensive food, leave the plate almost as it first came, pay the bill with a tip because that is what the elite do or ‘should’ do. We have bars of chocolates melting in the fridge for days, half drank juices and lots of junk that ends up in the pit. We cook in extravagance and are quick to throw the food away the next day because ‘we don’t eat left overs’. My friend; if you knew what those left overs mean to starved people you would never leave even a single bit of anything that tastes or even smells like food. Let alone left overs, the rotten food that you wouldn’t give your cat is like wealth to them. When you see how happy they become when they receive food from those who remember them you’d think they just won a lottery.

The struggle is real. Not only here in Kenya but in so many countries. Hunger and poverty is eating people. We need to become really responsible on how we eat, how much we eat and how we use the water that we have in abundance. We need to start thinking of those poor children as thin as our fingers, those very old men and women seated by the fire, watching the empty pot as if food is about to miraculously appear. We have to think of those mothers and fathers who have to face their children once again to say the same thing, “we don’t have anything to eat. Be patient.” How they have to live with two kinds of pain; one of their own struggle and two, the pain of their children. We have to measure what amount to cook and how much water to use. We have to really REALLY try helping those who are hungry when we can. Let us pray sincerely for them and for their children. Let us also pray for all those who dedicate their time, money and energy to buy and provide them with food. These people are our real heroes and the least they deserve from us is prayers; they are doing what most of us have failed to do.

May God give these families the patience and easen it for them. May He protect us from hunger and grant us the hearts to feed others when we can. Ameen…and today, when you go to eat, check how full your plate is. Thank God for it. Share it if it is more than you need. Make a difference in someone’s life.

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