Today we had brunch with a couple of friends,one thousand eight hundred, from beginning to end.
I’ll never forget, forever amazed, not the Ritz not the Carlton, this time just maize.
They came from the villages, near and afar, all came by foot not one by car.
They stood there like soldiers, the mild and the meek, waiting their turn for one square this week.
No words for the servers just waiting their turn, no words of praise, so much to learn.
The menu was rolls, beans and some rice, if this was our entrée we would not be so nice.
We waste so much, there’s plenty around, but these left nothing but an incredible sound.
Standing in line again they know, a drink, a banana and flour to go.
Gone as fast as they came, waiting till next week to march again.
The world just watches and continues to ignor, one thousand eight hundred there are millions more.
How can we sit by and let this go on, for these friends are just children who have nothing at all.
When Lou and I were in Kenya we had a life changing experience, volunteering to help with a feeding for thousands of starving children. Afterwards the poem above popped into my head.
The account below is the blog post I wrote right after the experience. I still have people ask why we do things for children in Africa when there are children in the US in need too. I have never understood why they are mutually exclusive and after seeing what we saw how you could ignore the situation.
Today Lou and I experienced a Sunday lunch that we will never forget, something that will be burned in our soul. The lunch was for 1800 malnourished and starving children. Each week the local Hindu community holds a lunch for the local children, some walk ten miles or more for a meal, many carried their infant brother or sister on their back, all carried a blank distant stare.
As we drove up to the location it seemed like the line was endless, each waiting their turn, like a cattle round up. Each child washed their hands in a trough as they stepped up and were divided into fours; a pizza pie plate loaded with four rolls, rice and beans and off to their corner to eat their one square meal for the week.
Some ate with family, some with friends, sometimes it was just luck of the draw who you had lunch with today. There were plenty of volunteers to hand out the food so I worked to document photographically the incredible scene; a sea of children from a few months to 10 years all starving.
When I started taking pictures, they were very shy and would cover their faces. I started to show them their image in the view finder, for many the first time they had seen an image of themselves. They would all crowd around and laugh at their first opportunity to see their portrait or that of their sibling. Suddenly nobody was shy, they all wanted to have their picture taken. Their smiles like a crack in a stone wall, or a splash of water on the Sahara desert. There were mulitple times I had to turn around to cry.
It was so organized with the big group of volunteers they managed to feed all 1800 in an hour and a half. After the meal, the children sang several songs that they obviously sang every Sunday.
The sound was deafening as 1800 children sang in unison under a small carport structure with a tin roof. As “Sunday brunch” concluded, the kids lined up again to leave, they got a cup of Kool-Aid to finish as they walked towards the gate, ten yards to drink their juice and drop their cup in a bucket, stop for a banana, a small bag of maize and the long walk back home.
Some got a used pair of shoes, no check for sizes or style, they were happy with what they were handed. WOW!