Friday, May 04, 2007

Combating World Hunger

If poverty, hunger and diseases are mentioned chances are that we think people speak of developing Nations or some war stricken, poverty ridden third world country somewhere on Africa or Latin America. The truth however, is that a lot of people down your street in North America, Europe and indeed the developed world cannot afford a single meal a day. World Hunger is a reality and unlike competing interests like healthcare, education, and terrorism- it is hardly a mantra of the brain dead politicians. Everyone has enough to eat appears to be the assumption underlining the bogus discussions that political undertake everyday and the egg head journalists co-opt them to go on about. Neither in the Presidential Candidate debate in USA, is UK or France the need of the poorest of the poor ever raised. They are invisible- whose needs are the least of their concerns. Along with the "homeless", whom society have impugned some kind of horrendous label, the hungry is unseen, unheard and not catered for. All we hear about is the spoilt brat, entitlement flushed middle-class. It is very common to hear the left wingers go on preaching about the middle class squeeze, and the right-wingers sermonize on middle class tax cuts. The question is- what about the under/lower/poorest class?

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to be asked to devote a tiny piece of my time to the cause of feeding the hungry through the meals on wheels program- a crucial feed the hungry dive in Houston inner cities. The stark reality of poverty will not hit you until you see two loaves of bread, peanut jelly butter and a 30 oz pop(Kool-Aid), becoming the miracle of pre-K children who hitherto would have gone hungry without the innovative program of Meals on Wheel program. The sad part is that hunger is combatable and in a rich country like the USA and even the poorest ones, it is simply inhumane that we look the other way while it over takes the youngest and most susceptible amongst us. More often than not, it takes our time to feed poor more than our money. In Brazil, President Lula have made it a core thrust of his administration to combat hunger in his country and it is working. If poor Brazil can do it, why not the great US of A. Well, you and I know what the priorities are. Only those who make big campaign contributions or who vote get taken care of; that is exactly why dumping 1 billion dollar daily in the watering hole called Iraq is a greater priority than fixing the broken healthcare and education system here at home. We also know very well those corporations and smooth talking execs that are making good off the war anyway.

All these aside, you can be of help in combating world hunger in a number of ways. Visiting a local soup kitchen or shelter to volunteer your time in packing lunch will be a good start. Donating to UNICEF, who I believe is doing an honorable job in many developing nations where help for the middle class not to talk of the poor is non-existent, will also be a step in the right direction. You can be sure that for every minute you spent packing the lunch, you touched a child; for every child you touch you might have touched a soul; and every soul you touched could be the next driver for change in the world: A child that will find a cure to cancer, another that will take man to the moon once again and others that will sit in the oval office just like Bill Clinton- whose family once lived on those food stamps. No one knows the future, and it is immoral to starve the future. Feed the children of the world, and fight world hunger to a stand still.

Headed to Vegas
I think am ready to hit the road this month. I should be in the Sin City for Memorial Day. I intend to fly there and drive all the way back to Houston- a twenty two hours drive. I am actually more excited about the road trip that will crisscross five states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and of course Texas. Texas is a 12 hours stretch- a big state indeed. But the rustic country sides and beautiful view of the mountain, desert and grassland over a 22 hours lap is definitely worth the trouble. While everything that happens in Vegas should stay there, I promise to share pictures of the road trip.

I saw the Last King of Scotland and Blood Diamond finally. They were both masterpieces. After these phony elections in naija, I wonder whether our continent will ever get it right. Bobby and the Queen are next on my Blockbuster list. My summer list is complete but one book...I shall share my progress in the next post.
Are Americans really stupid?


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