Have you eaten today

4 09 2007


I recall seeing photos of starving Ethiopian children and children scrounging for food while having this big bulging belly. It was only years later that I learnt that the bulging belly is actually an indication of pain and hunger. The type of hunger that prevents you from doing anything else, as all your energy is geared to finding something to eat.

This tragedy continually plays itself out and through the years, as I have travelled to various countries, I have recognised the same symptoms in Asia, Africa and the Americas.What has always stood out was that close to these starving people (not only children starve!) there are those who are suffering from obesity!

I have the honour of working with some medical students locally and was called by one as there is no food and they have been banned from the cafeteria due to lack of funds! Here are some fantastic people whose sole purpose in life is to get an education and help their fellow South Africans so they can get out of the trap of poverty…yet that very poverty keeps them in it’s life sapping grip.

We have put together a food package for these students (when I say students please don’t think western world students living in comfortable dorms and catching a bite to eat at Denny’s or International House of Pancakes!).

To get out there I must drive through the suburbs of Pretoria and past the University of Pretoria. As I do this, I see all the students hurrying to class and can’t help wondering, beyond this exterior how many sad stories are there.

Nora (name changed for obvious reasons) told me about her brother who started taking drugs because of his depression of not being able to survive the pressure as a sole provider for himself, his sister and younger sister still at school. Both parents have passed away with HIV/Aids and it was his responsibility at the age of 22 to support them.

Well, Nora is now the sole provider because her brother was so overwhelmed and with his depression he has committed suicide. That was a year and a half ago and we no longer hear from Nora who has left and returned to the rural community where she will most probably sell her body or try some other menial work growing corn in a patch and occasionally cleaning someone’s house for a small income which is mostly spent on transport. This could have been prevented simply by providing to eat for them! Nora told us that what broke her brother was the soft sobbing of her younger sister as she went to bed…hungry once more.

I can tell you more stories of the knock-on effect of hunger, but have decided long ago that we will always try and be factual, as it is so easy to get emotional when one sees apparent imbalances.

I simply want to ask you to help the Nora’s, before they become what she is now by donating $5 or $10 a month to help the feeding. See the donate button  on this blog! All funds go directly to the needs of the students and no administrative or wage funds are used as this is a purely voluntary exercise.

To be honest, what I would prefer even more, is that you advise us of who you are rather than simply donate as we would like to introduce you to the students and have them tell you personally their own stories. I would like to say there is some sort of reward for you, but there is not…or rather there is not in this lifetime, but your reward will be in heaven and we thank you and bless you for considering this. I suggest you go through this blog and read about Dindela and Shiver Relief and you will find the many areas you can get involved in uplifting the rural peoples of South Africa.





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