I often read about the existence of millions of hungry people in Latin America. When I am there, no one appears starving because of the easy access to corn tortillas which are incredibly cheap. They fill the hunger pains but not only do they not do much for nutrition, they also contribute to the massive level of type 2 diabetes.
So mostly the people don’t complain of hunger.
But I started asking more about it on this trip. What do you eat for breakfast? “Tortillas y sometimes frijoles” For lunch….the same. For dinner….the same
But I was particularly touched by one of the very lovely and exceptional students in our program.
“Did you eat breakfast this morning?”
Her eyes got really big and she said...
“Because we don’t have any food. Ni café, ni azucar, ni nada” (not coffee, sugar or anything).
Thinking she may be exaggerating a bit, I asked “So what do you eat?”
I eat the food that you give us everyday at the school.
I recently read an interpretation of the parable of the multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:34-44) written by Father Frei Betto, a Brazilian priest, journalist and theologian who was an activist for the cause of the poorest in Central America
In this gospel story, 5000 men had just heard Jesus’ sermon. The disciples suggested that Jesus buy them something to eat. Jesus’ response was that the disciples could “give them” something to eat. (In reality, there was plenty of food to go around). Jesus didn’t ask how much money the disciples had…he asked how many loaves they had. Throughout the gospels, the distribution of bread symbolizes the Father’s kindness and food is associated with life’s abundance. At this event, Jesus realized that of course there were all kinds of vendors at that event selling food. In reality, there were many fishes and many loaves. Does this mean there was not a miracle? Of course there was a miracle. But there was not magic. Magic would be the spectacular action of taking the loaves and fish and saying “abracadabra” and suddenly food appears. The miracle was to alter the natural course of things….changing people’s hearts so that now they were willing to share their goods so that no one would be hungry.
If you are reading this and you would like to help us send more food, please do so. We need your help. It’s not easy to help a whole lot of starving people.