Africa 8. HUNGER


Why Gluttony?

Is it possible that Gluttony exists in Africa? Sounds ridiculous? No and I will tell you why! While volunteering in an orphanage in Kenya I was amazed to see how kids are sharing their food and meals. I have to admit that I am a fruit lover and during my visit I was buying often bananas from the local market.


The prices vary between 10 to 20 cents for 3,4 very tasteful bananas. To be honest, I never really knew the real taste of this fruit until I actually visited Kenya and had the chance to enjoy it at its best. One time during the lessons with the elder group of kids, which took place in one of the classrooms in the building, created for the after school activities, I discovered I had some bananas left in my purse,which i was supposed to leave at home. So in the break between the two classes I asked if any of the kids wanted to have them. All of them answered positively and 2 of them(the boys who were leaders in the class) grabbed the bananas from my hands. At this very moment I was worried because it was an aggressive gesture and I didn’t think it is fair only they to eat the fruits. But then I was more than surprised when the boys started cutting with fingers the bananas in little pieces and distributing them to all the other around 10 kids.

“The day before, Jesus had fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. Then that night he walked miles across the Sea of Galilee before catching up with his disciples in their boat. The crowd had seen him send his disciples away in the only boat available. So the next day, when they found him in Capernaum, they knew he could have only got there miraculously. They wanted him to be their King. Then he went and ruined everything. To his adoring fans Jesus said, Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal (John 6:26-27).”
“Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life.”

I started 7 deadly sins by Feed your Humanity, because I really want to make a full comparison between the perception of African people about life and life habits in comparison with our cultural point of view here in Europe. As a person, who only a spent a month in Kenya which is hardly had enough time to get the whole picture regarding my surroundings, I am still capable of sharing with you my first impressions of the Kenyan standard of living.
I am writing about the Gluttony, because I was under the belief that in Africans were dying every day from hunger due to lack of food and minimum nutrition. My observations from Bungoma and other places I visited in Kenya, convinced me just the opposite of my original belief.  The moral after the conversation I had with a stranger on a bus journey to the capital Nairobi, was that the problem in Kenya, (I cannot speak for whole Africa, without having any personal observations), was not the lack of resources but the high inequality that persists in the consumption of these resources. The problem in Kenya is a political and an administrative one, therefore the image that Africa is persuading of.

Starving child

“Let me explain myself better”-, the woman told me. “There are regions in Kenya where the soil is more fertile than others and where it rains a lot, so the farmers produce more than in other parts of the country. However, for less fertile regions, the government of Kenya promises to transfer resources from the rich to the poor. Unfortunately, due to corruption and an inefficient, large public sector, the poor are left to die. They eat so little food, becoming really slim and weak.This is usually the time when foreign journalists who seek headlines, as well as legitimate and illegitimate private organizations feed us with shocking pictures of starving and dying children, a very skinny kids, pictures of their huge “mortal” eyes.It is sensation, everybody is in shock and convinced that Africa is so poor, people are dying of hunger. Pictures everywhere- little kids, with skinny hands and enormous heads and eyes. The foreign donations and compassion from the people all over the world starts . What happens after that?  In the next few weeks is that the resources have already been distributed from the government and the people are back to their normal nutrition, gaining weight and becoming a normal human beings again. And only my question remain? Do we only notice the hungry because of the media “shock-seekers”? Are they hungry now and more important do donations really fix the problem of starvation periods? Why can’t Africans fix the corruption within their own ranks? Do the non Africans resolve the problem by donating money to “dubious” institutions and voluntary organizations or they are doing just the opposite- supporting the non transparent bureaucracy and the continuation of already a huge problem which is constantly increasing in the internal system. Because evidences seem to suggest that aid to the public sector is failing Africa.”

To be continued…

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