You know what one of my least favorite foods is? Rice.
You know what most of the world eats every day? Rice.
It’s Day 1, Month 1 of my 7 Challenge, and I’m already struggling. When faced with the choice of rice or nothing, I usually choose nothing.
As I laid out in my review of Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I’ll be starting this challenge with a month to re-think food. I’ll take 7 different days scattered throughout the month and eat like the impoverished people in one of the 20 Most Impoverished Countries around the world.
I’m starting with Haiti. This country is in dire straits, people. It’s average caloric intake per day is 450 calories (the American average is 3,500). The average household income is less than $2 a day, which puts it at No. 19 in the 20 poorest countries list. However, food prices are sky high in Haiti, compared to other impoverished countries. One meal of rice and beans costs $1.50. That means only one person gets a decent meal per household per day. Half of all deaths in Haiti are caused by starvation. 15% of children don’t make it to age 5. I could go on and on with grim statistics, but I think we all get the picture. Haiti needs help.
So today I’ll be eating one meal of rice and beans. Besides having had plentiful food yesterday and being able to look forward to plentiful food tomorrow, I’ll also have the added bonus of clean water. 40% of Haitians do not have access to clean water, and an unknown number of those that could have access cannot afford it.
I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed with all the problems in Haiti. So what can I do? Eating like a poor Haitian for one day hardly seems enough to make a difference. But the point isn’t to fix everything in one stroke–the point is to do something. I’m going to start out by praying for Haiti this week. Next, I’ll make a donation based on the money I didn’t spend on food for me today and hopefully a little extra to Hunger Relief International. HRI works in Haiti and Guatemala to ease the suffering of the hungry in these countries.
As I think (obsess) about what I’m not eating, feed my children cinnamon toast and milk, and sip my nice glass of cool, clean water, I try to put myself in the shoes of those parents who wake up with nothing to offer their children. It’s impossible for me to know that burden. But it’s also becoming impossible for me to sit back and do nothing, knowing that so many live in that situation every day.