We are back in Norway after a long trip to Thailand and Burma. It feels good to be home and unpack my suitcase. It feels nice to walk into the kitchen in my PJs and make the cOffEe. It feels nice to look out through the window and see white fields, the grey ocean and mountains in the distance, not smog, cars, concrete structures and garbage piles. It feels nice to think about what to cook for dinner and to plan my own mEals. Less refines sugars and flour. More fresh food. More fiber. More organic. I like my new pots my mom got me for Christmas.
I like opening my closet and spend some minutes thinking about what to wear. Something that matches my mood is nice. Today I wear my rAinBoW hoodie.
But there is a nagging feeling in the back of my head and it will not go away. No matter how hard I try to enjoy my luxuries here, I still think of those two dads I met a week ago.
“If nobody helps, we will die,” said Saw Ree Buh.
He had walked for four hours together with his friend to talk to us. He was wearing a stained white shirt and carried a hand-woven shoulder bag, the kind that the Karen always carry. In the bag he had his machete and a worn notebook that he had wrapped in an old plastic bag for protection. He was the village chief of Paw Ner Mu Lu village. 102 people live there and they are all hungry. “I lay awake at night and worry about what I am going to feed my seven children the next day,” he said quietly. “We don’t know what to do. We have no food now, and we have thought of all possible ways that we can find some rice. Last year we grew chili peppers, and we sold those and got money for rice. But this year we have no chilies either.”
My kids were there and listened to what the man said in dumbfounded wonder. Was it true? They really had no food? “Well, let’s get them some!” There is only one thing to do when you sit face to face with a starving father: You give him food.
We had a little money. “Can we give you this?” We asked sheepishly. The two men looked at us like they thought we understood nothing. “We cannot EAT money,” they said. “When we say there is no rice, there really is no rice.” Of course. They don’t have Costco in the jungle, do they? Their villages are surrounded by the Burma Army so they could not go to the store even if they wanted to.
In the end we were able to mobilize local leaders, get rice and had it sent to the villages that have the biggest needs. 3000 dollars worth of rice we sent. That will sustain them for three months if all they eat is rice.
I am so glad I was there to hear of their need. I am so glad we were able to help. I am so glad we are more concerned about getting the help to the people quickly and effectively than by spending time on bureaucratic waste.
But I am sad that in this world of abundance, people are starving. In this world where we are trying our hardest to keep the kilos off, there are children who have nothing to eat for breakfast.
I may not be able to do a lot, but I want to make sure these 1050 people I have heard about get enough to eat for the year. We have the first three months covered. Five more to go. You can help me if you want. Got any ideas?