Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Hungry

I was reading Boo Mama's blog today about her trip to Uganda...I had a flashback to the first time when I met true hunger.

We had been in Ecuador for only a few days and had rented an apartment -- the top floor of a three flat. I was up early and stepped out on the balcony with a cup of coffee. The early morning sun shone on the city of Quito. Our little bario was the equivalent of suburban American with neat houses, brick streets, as well as very un-American iron gates and tall fences surrounding our homes.

My husband had set out the garbage for pick-up that morning right outside the gate. I had dumped coffee grounds, left-over rice, scraps from our plates, potato peels and wrapped them in newspaper. (The Ecuadorian equivalent of a plastic bag.) I was watching a Quechua Indian woman walk down the street with her baby strapped on her back. She was colorful and interesting to my Gringa eyes. I watched as she walked slowly toward me.

She didn't stop at any other homes that I saw, but she paused as she drew near our drive. She stooped then and reached into our garbage can, found the newspaper wrapped packet, and laid it on the top of the garbage. To my amazement, she opened the newspaper, reached in a took a handful of the mixture. Before I could recover my senses, she reached her hand up to the baby on her back and feed him my garbage. Tears rolled down my face as I stood motionless, unable to do anything but cry. She picked up the rest of the newspaper wrapped "food," and looked up to wave as me before she moved on down the street. I turned to my two and three year olds calmly eating breakfast at the table and marvelled at the grace of God.

I resolved to never mix coffee grounds, potato peels or other inedible things with my leftovers again. For the rest of our 3 month stay there, every morning I left a neatly wrapped package of left over food right on top of our garbage. Each morning she'd come by and pick it up, wave to me and go on her way. She didn't speak Spanish; I didn't speak Quechua. At that moment we were simply two young mothers feeding breakfast to her child.

Hunger had a face. I was never the same again.


If you'd like to help feed a child, go to Compassion International


marina said...

PJ, that was so beautiful what you did for her the fowlling days I am sure she miss you the day you left.
How one can speake with out words just the eyes sometiems is enough.
you are bless,marina

T said...

that is amazing.
I'm speechless.

Mrs. Darling said...

That is so sad. How blessed we are!

Ann said...

I'm speechless, too. It's heartbreaking that so many people out there don't have enough to eat. There's plenty of food in the world, it makes no sense why people don't respond and get the food to the people.

Still Learning said...

OH my, I have chills. We throw food away every day....enough to feed many. I am ashamed. Thank you for posting this. I hope I never forget your story.

storyteller said...

Thank you for sharing this touching story reminding us all how blessed we are and how simple it is to share with others. I'm so glad you stopped by Small Reflections this morning and found my "birthday Haiku" and I hope you'll visit my other blog, Sacred Ruminations, as well. I've bookmarked your blog so I can return when time permits to get better acquainted. I'm happy to have found you in this virtual world.
Hugs and blessings,

Ewokgirl said...

Beautifully written.

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