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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: hunger, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 14 of 14
1. Is it finally time to make peace with your eating? FAT CAT in real life.

WGDW #13Some writers rely on drugs and alcohol. Not me. I just finished writing a screenplay fueled mostly by coffee and Reese's peanut butter cups. Soooo much better, right? *cough*

One of the reasons I wrote my novel FAT CAT was that I was an overweight teen (and adult, at times), and I wanted to sit down and research everything I could find about food, weight loss, and healthy eating. Then I came up with the science project plan for my heroine, Cat, to put herself through. I even did it myself while I wrote the book so I could accurately depict what Cat was feeling from day to day.

And the hardest things for both Cat and me to give up were -- you guessed it -- sugar and caffeine. Cat's withdrawal struggle in the novel was mine. But once I got passed that, boy, did I feel great! But then after I finished writing it, I eventually slipped right back into my old habits. And to be honest, I'm still struggling with that today.

Which is why I'm so excited about this free video series from Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson. She's  a tenured psychology professor with a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences (and you know how much I love SCIENCE!). She also used to be obese. I always love to learn from someone who's been on the front lines and has figured out how to do something better.

For years now Susan has been teaching her findings in her college course on the Psychology of Eating. But last year she realized she should make that same information available to more people. She decided to create her free video series to share the truth about the psychology and neuroscience of weight loss and food freedom.

I'm glad she has! I've already listened to some of her presentations, and WOW. So much of what she had to say really hit home.

So here's the first video in her new series. If you're like me, I know you're going to love it!

Good luck to all of us who love our comfort food a little too much!

~Robin

 

 

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2. The Education Fraud

Today I was really riled up by Global Citizen's post : 'If girls would complete their primary education, maternal deaths would decrease by 70%'.
Someone please explain this daft statement to me because I cannot see how having completed high school will help a woman who has no access to a clean, well-equipped medical facility!
I think that is the stupidest oversimplification of a very serious social problem. What expectant mothers need is proper nutrition and support. They need medical care during and after the pregnancy, and during the birthing process. 
And that brings me to what I call the 'Education Fraud.' There has been this concerted effort by everyone in the 'do-good' field to make us believe that setting up schools is the answer to everything. From Malala's claims of how important education is to her country (it is, but so much more needs to be addressed before setting up schools) to people signing off parts of their paychecks to help some child learn his abcd's in a remote corner of the world, we all have bought into the concept of investing in schooling. It is great, but it is pointless if it is not predicated on more pressing priorities. And especially when we are already rethinking our entire learning system!
I was always irritated with Greg Mortenson's idea. It bothered me that he thought kids who were covering their frost-bitten feet with straw should be thrilled with the pencils he provided. The deprivation those children were experiencing, they would be thrilled with anything. Electricity, plumbing, water, maybe even chocolates.....? I will not accept that that the joy of learning something new (for it is a joy) is more important that basic human needs. And incomprehensible soundbites like the one that leads this write-up do not convince me. My cook's son goes to a school where where most of the students come from well-to-do families. Along with the theorems and grammar, he learns how disadvantaged he is and how different from his friends. He is a very unhappy child.
I work for an organization that sets up schools in under-resourced communities in Punjab. It is a unique model. All the children come from one community. Besides the basic food and clothing, we ensure that the children learn to express their hopes and fears. There is no set curriculum; the aim is to provide a safe nurturing environment for them to develop their potential. It is not schooling as much as it is nurturing and support. the concentration remains on what they need, not what we would like them to have.
Poverty is a much more insidious evil than a simple lack of opportunity for the affected community. It affects the mindset of a people, it affects the spirit, it affects their thinking. Recent research proves it affects both mind and brain. More pertinently, it results in markedly uncomfortable living situations and limits people's access to facilities that everyone has a right to. Poverty is a disease, and it, like any other disease, has to be given the proper antidote. I can assure you that that antidote is not a pencil or a blackboard. 
About 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment. This is a 2015 UN statistic. Each one of these individuals, children and the mothers-to-be included, are hungry and afraid. Their main worry is how to fend off hunger pangs, where to get clean water from, and what livelihood to find that will sustain them. It is our collective responsibility to make food and stability a priority, for all people everywhere in the world. Education is only the next step. We should move to that step only after we have lived up to our humanity; after every individual in our race is safe from hunger and strife. it is not education but the freedom from hunger and oppression is the most basic human right that we absolutely must address. 

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3. Summer of the Gypsy Moths, by Sara Pennypacker

Stella is spending the summer living with her Great Aunt Louise on the Cape.  She is going to help Louise tend to the summer cottages adjacent to her little house.  Louise isn't a big one on emotion, and Stella is surprised when after talking to Louise about her mother and blueberries, Louise wraps her in a hug.  This pleases Stella, because she loves the idea of ties between people.  Since her own mother isn't exactly dependable, Stella likes the even nature of Louise and her clean house and tidy garden.  She even is trying to find a way to get along with foster kid Angel, who Louise took in thinking could keep Stella company. The two girls couldn't be more different, and Stella can't imagine why Louise thought having two girls was a good idea.

The thing is, Louise is older and she's not well.  Angel and Stella make a gruesome discovery when they come home from school one day, and they have some heavy choices to make.  Can they make a go of the summer on their own?  Should Angel run?  What will happen if folks find out they are living without any adult supervision?  And what are they going to tell George - the local who is supposed to help Louise take care of the rentals?  Most importantly, what are they going to do with Louise?

The girls decide to make a go of it, and have to figure out a way to get along.  Their differences turn out to be a good thing as Stella could use some fire and Angel could use some forethought.  Readers see the girls deal with bills, finding food, lying about Louise's whereabouts, and dealing with their own guilt.  All of this is wrapped up in Sara Pennypacker's rich prose, describing the Cape, the cottages, the beach, as well as the interconnected nature of life.  "I like to imagine the ties between us as strands of spider silk: practically invisible, maybe, but strong as steel.  I figure the trick is to spin out enough of them to weave ourselves into a net." (p.1)

Readers will be left wondering what they would do if they were ever in Stella and Angel's  predicament.   Honestly at first, I was wondering who I would give this book to.  It's clearly not for the same audience as Clementine.  There are heady issues in Summer of the Gypsy Moths, and at times the bigger ideas are a little scary.  Ultimately, however, this is a story of friendship, survival and hope, and thoughtful tweens will be ready for the serious nature of Stella and Angel's situation.





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4. #642 – Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt & Vin Vogel

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Maddi’s Fridge

Written by Lois Brandt
Illustrations by Vin Vogel
Flash Light Press              9/01/2014
978-1-9361612-9-1
Age 4 to 8          32 pages
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“Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, play in the same park, and go to the same school. But while Sofia[s fridge is full, Maddi’s fridge is empty—white empty—just a small container of milk.

“Why doesn’t your mom go to the store?” Sofia asks

“We don’t have enough money”

“But what if you get hungry?”

“We have some bread,” says Maddi. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

“Sofia promises Maddi she won’t tell, but is determined to help her best friend. She sneaks food for Maddi in her bag and discovers that, while fish and eggs are good for kids, they aren’t very good for backpacks. Despite Sofia’s very best efforts, Maddi’s fridge is still empty. Sofia promised not to tell. Now what does she do?”

Opening

“When Sofia and Maddi played at the park, they stretched their toes to the sky.”

Review

Best friends Sofia and Maddi play in the park every day. Sofia runs faster than Maddi, but Maddi climbs the rock wall quicker than Sofia does. Somehow, that evens things out for the two friends. Their food situation is far from even. Sofia discovers Maddi has only milk in her fridge—less than full. Sofia’s fridge is loaded with food—good food. Maddi has a lot of energy for a girl barely eating, but then, hunger knows how to mask itself, usually through embarrassment and shame. Embarrassed, Maddi makes Sofia promise not to tell anyone. Sofia goes home to eat. (Why didn’t she invite Maddi?)

MF layout 3

Sofia keeps her promise not to tell; still she must help her best friend. That night, Sofia’s mom makes fish and rice for dinner. There is enough food that even Pepito, the dog, had some fish and rice mixed into his dog food. Sofia got a great idea. She asks her mom if fish is good for kids and mom says it iss perfect. That night, Sofia put some fish in a baggie and dropped it into her backpack. The following day, Sofia’s backpack stunk of inedible fish.

“Yuck,” said Maddi

“Double Yuck,” said Sofia.

The following night, Sofia’s mom makes frittatas for dinner. Again, even Pepito has frittata mixed into his bowl. Sofia asks if eggs are good for kids . . . see where this is going. Yeah, Sofia tries to help her friend and keep her promise at the same time, but backpacks filled the night before, and sit outside the fridge waiting for the morning to arrive, do not make good transportation when sneaking food for a friend.

MF layout 9

Sofia knows she needs help. Can she break her promise to Maddi? Kids will understand this story; laugh at the funny moments, and leave wanting to help others, as kids are prone to do. In Maddi’s Fridge, Sofia’s brother offers his favorite food and Pepito offers his bowl and a can of dog food (what a happy dog—I thought it was a cat).

The illustrations add humor with the comic-like characters and a neighborhood setting that could be your neighborhood. Randomly open the book and odds are good you will see a positive spread and probably humor. Only three pages express Maddi’s situation and her embarrassment. The author kept Maddi’s Fridge a story kids will enjoy and understand.

In the end, the two girls must work out what it means to break a promise. Will Maddi be upset with Sofia? What is more important: promises or people? (Or best-friend people?) Maddi’s Fridge could easily have been a message story or had the lack of food a constant talking point. Instead, Maddi’s Fridge is a sweet story about two best friends taking care of each other.

Mf layout 5

Oh, there is another side story where Maddi helps Sofia, but I can’t fit it all in. Sorry, you will need to read Maddi’s Fridge. The story is perfect for story time, teachers of grades K to 2, and homeschoolers. Maddi’s Fridge is a sweet story that remains positive, refusing to become sad or gloomy, though the subject of hunger can certainly be both.

MADDI’S FRIDGE. Text copyright © 2014 by Lois Brandt. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Vin Vogel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Flash Light Press, Brooklyn, NY.

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Buy Maddi’s Fridge at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryFlash Light Pressyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Maddi’s Fridge HERE.

Meet the author, Lois Brandt, at her website:    http://www.loisbrandt.com/

Meet the illustrator, Vin Vogel, at his website:    http://www.vinvogel.com/

Find more picture books at the Flash Light Press website:    http://www.flashlightpress.com/

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Also by Vin Vogel

The Thing About Yetis! (Fall, 2015)

Music Class Today! (Fall 2015)

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maddis fridge

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: childhood hunger, children's book reviews, Flash Light Press, hunger, Lois Brandt, picture book, social issues, Vin Vogel

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5. Who should be shamefaced?

Jose Nuñez lives in a homeless shelter in Queens with his wife and two children. He remembers arriving at the shelter: ‘It’s literally like you are walking into prison. The kids have to take their shoes off, you have to remove your belt, you have to go through a metal detector. Even the kids do. We are not going into a prison, I don’t need to be stripped and searched. I’m with my family. I’m just trying to find a home’.

Maryann Broxton, a lone mother of two, finds life exhausting and made worse by ‘the consensus that, as a poor person, it is perfectly acceptable to be finger printed, photographed and drug-tested to prove that I am worthy of food. Hunger is not a crime. The parental guilt is punishment enough.’

Palma McLaughlin, a victim of domestic violence, notes that ‘now she is poor, she is stigmatised’; no longer ‘judged by her skills and accomplishments but by what she doesn’t have’.

People in poverty feel ashamed because they cannot afford to live up to social expectations. Being a good parent means feeding your children; being a good relative means exchanging gifts at celebrations. Friendships need to be sustained by buying a round of drinks or returning money that has been borrowed. When you cannot afford to do these things, your sense of shame is magnified by others. Friends, even close relatives, avoid you. Your children despise you, asking, for example: ‘why was I born into this family?’. Society similarly accuses you of being lazy, abusing drugs or promiscuity, assumed guilty until proved innocent. You can even be blamed for the ills of your country, the high levels of crime or its relative economic decline. The middle class in Uganda ask: ‘how can Uganda be poor when the soils are rich and the climate is good if it’s not the fault of subsistence farmers’?’

In the US, as in Britain, it may be welfare expenditure that is blamed for stifling productive investment.

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Beggar’s sign, by Gamma Man. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

Shame is debilitating as well as painful. People avoid it by attempting to keep up appearances, pretending everything is fine. In so doing, they often live in fear of being found out and risk overextending finances and incurring bad debts. People in poverty typically avoid social situations where they risk being exposed to shame; in so doing lose the contacts that might help them out when times get particularly harsh. Sometimes shame drives people into clinical depression, to substance abuse and even to suicide. Shame saps self-esteem, erodes social capital and diminishes personal efficacy raising the possibility that it serves also to perpetuate poverty by reducing individuals’ ability to help themselves.

Shame also divides society. While the stigma attaching to policies can be unintentional, sometimes the result of underfunding and staff working under pressure, the public rhetoric of deserving and undeserving exacerbates misunderstanding between rich and poor, nurturing the presumption that the latter are invariably inadequate or dishonest. Often around the world, stigmatising welfare recipients is deliberate and frequently supported by popular opinion. Blaming and shaming are commonly thought to be effective ways of policing access to welfare benefits and regulating anti-social and self-destructive behaviour. However, such beliefs are based on two assumptions that are untenable. The first is that poverty is overwhelmingly of people’s own making, the result of individual inadequacy. This can hardly be the case in Uganda, Pakistan or India. Nor is so elsewhere. Poverty is for the most part structural, caused by factors beyond individual control relating to the workings of the economy, the mix of factors of production and the outcome of primary and secondary resource allocation. The second assumption is that shaming people changes their behaviour enabling them to lift themselves out of poverty. However, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that shaming does not facilitate behavioural change but merely imposes further pain.

Jose, Maryann and Palma were not participants in a research project. Rather they are members of ATD Fourth World, an organisation devoted to giving people in poverty voice, and their testimonials are available to read online. Echoing Martin Luther King, Palma dreams that one day her four children will be judged not by the money in their bank accounts but by the quality of their character.

Headline image credit: ‘Someone Special to Someone, Sometime’ by John W. Iwanski. CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr.

The post Who should be shamefaced? appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Food security in the twenty-first century

There are currently about 7 billion people on Earth and by the middle of this century the number will most likely be between 9 and 10 billion. A greater proportion of these people will in real terms be wealthier than they are today and will demand a varied diet requiring greater resources in its production. Increasing demand for food will coincide with supply-side pressures: greater competition for water, land, and energy, and the accelerating effects of climate change.

The post Food security in the twenty-first century appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Friday Procrastination: Link Love

Happy snowy Friday to all! Grab a cup of hot cocoa, snuggle up with a blanket and your laptop and start surfing these links.

Don’t look now but your media job may just be running for the hills.

Sing it loud Egan so Steve Jobs can hear you, books are not dead!

The Best of the Bookers.

Curious about art theft?  A reformed stolen-art dealer tells all. (more…)

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8. The Tiger’s Choice: Revisiting The Clay Marble

The Clay Marble

Eleven years ago I made my first visit to Cambodia and fell in love. I was in Phnom Penh, which in 1997 was a city of hope, and the mood of joyous optimism that pervaded its streets was irresistible. The man who was my motorcycle taxi driver during my visit was a man whose smile touched his eyes but did not erase the omnipresent sadness that lived in them. His parents had been killed during the years of Pol Pot when he was just entering his teens, and he refused to accompany me when I entered the grounds of Tuol Sleng, the school that had been turned into a torture chamber , because that is the place that had made him an orphan. He took care of his younger brother as best as he could and they both survived.

He took me to his house in the rural outskirts of the city so I could meet his wife, his two small sons, and his baby daughter. His children all gleamed with the love that he gave them, healthy and happy. At one point during my time with them, my host tapped the side of a large and bulging burlap bag. “Rice,” he said proudly, “We eat it every day.”

When I read and reread The Clay Marble, it brings this memory so strongly to mind that I often find that I am in tears. Minfong Ho evokes the hunger of that dreadful time–for food, for family, for community, for the ability to know that a harvest of rice will soon be reaped, for the safety to sleep in one’s own house with safe and happy children close by.

Obviously I have emotional baggage that I bring with me to this book–would it have the same impact if I had not fallen in love with Cambodia? What about you? Does this book move you or is does it feel contrived? Is it an issue in search of a story or does it bring the refugee experience to life? Please let us all know what you think…

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9. Why Babes Cry?

Parents are sometimes confused and it becomes so hard for them to find out the real cause of the crying. It is quite normal for babes to cry if they are hungry or if they are uncomfortable or of they are sick. They may even cry for getting the parents attention. 

Well, crying is the only weapon that the kids have for grabbing your attention.  This is the only means of communication by which they can talk to you. 

Why babes cry? Hunger is the most common cause for a babes’ crying. Once the mother starts feeding, you can see the difference — the babes stop crying. If the child continues crying even after feeding, then there is some other reason.

The babes may cry if it is not comfortable with the dress. Sometimes the dress could be tight or irritating. May be the diapers are wet and it can irritate the babe.

There is also a possibility that the kid may be feeling too hot or too cold. Make the babe comfortable by providing the right temperature. The babe may also cry if it has a poor digestion.

These may be some of the physical discomforts that make a babe cry. But it is not just physical discomfort that makes your babe yell out. If your babe feels that you are not giving much attention, then it is quite natural for your babe to yell out to reach your attention.

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10. Why Babes Cry?

Parents are sometimes confused and it becomes so hard for them to find out the real cause of the crying. It is quite normal for babes to cry if they are hungry or if they are uncomfortable or of they are sick. They may even cry for getting the parents attention. 

Well, crying is the only weapon that the kids have for grabbing your attention.  This is the only means of communication by which they can talk to you. 

Why babes cry? Hunger is the most common cause for a babes’ crying. Once the mother starts feeding, you can see the difference — the babes stop crying. If the child continues crying even after feeding, then there is some other reason.

The babes may cry if it is not comfortable with the dress. Sometimes the dress could be tight or irritating. May be the diapers are wet and it can irritate the babe.

There is also a possibility that the kid may be feeling too hot or too cold. Make the babe comfortable by providing the right temperature. The babe may also cry if it has a poor digestion.

These may be some of the physical discomforts that make a babe cry. But it is not just physical discomfort that makes your babe yell out. If your babe feels that you are not giving much attention, then it is quite natural for your babe to yell out to reach your attention.

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11. Social Justice Challenge: Hunger

Social Justice Challenge 2010March became an “Observer” month for me on the Social Justice Challenge and I’m only now posting about the April topic – Hunger. At the beginning of the month we were asked to post a picture depicting hunger. For contemporary heart-rending photographs, read the post links here.

The picture I’ve chosen is an old one – an illustration by George Cruikshank from Oliver Twist, which we haven’t quite finished yet.

Cruikshank illustration for OliverTwist - "Please, sir, I want some more.

Cruikshank’s cartoon, where Oliver, having drawn the short straw, dares to ask for more gruel, is as much an exchange between the hungry Oliver and the pompous Mr Bumble, as it is a metaphor of the stand-off between the haves and have nots – or, today, poor countries in thrall to wealthy countries, in terms of debt. Hunger and poverty go hand in hand – but you often don’t have to look too far away from the have nots to find the haves.

Another book we read in April (and I’ve talked about both of them in my recent update of the PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge) is John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. The theme of hunger runs through the book. The contrast between the situation of the two boys, Bruno and Shmuel, is often thrown into sickening relief by Bruno’s unquestioning observation of his friend, who is fading away before his eyes. As he leaves the house to go and see Shmuel, Bruno often grabs a snack to take to his friend – but more often than not he ends up carelessly eating it himself because he happens to feel a bit peckish. It makes you want to weep. There is also an excruciating scene in the kitchen of Bruno’s house.

Both these books have historical settings, but we have related them to today’s world. We turned to that superb resource for both young and old, If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith (Kids Can Press, 2002, updated 2007). The section on Food, which I have mentioned before, says:

There is no shortage of food in the global village. If all the food were divided equally, everyone would have enough to eat. But the food isn’t divided equally. So although there is enough to feed the villagers, not everyone will be fed:

50 people do not have a reliable source of food and are hungry some or all of the time.
20 other people are severly undernourised.

Only 30 people always have enough to eat.

There are natural reasons for hunger – crops failing, drought, natural disaster – but human action and inaction, whether through conflict, economic policy etc. are as far-reaching and probably more insidious.

Have a read of this article, 12 Myths About Hunger - it dates back to 2008 but it is still thought-provoking and relevant. And one of the things I’m resolved to keep up for the rest of the Social Justice Ch

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12. Review: The Good Garden

María Luz Duarte and her family own a farm, but when the land loses its goodness and food supplies run low, her father must leave home to find work. María Luz must tend the garden on her own. Then a new teacher moves into the area ... Click here to read more.

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13. Pursuits and Family Understanding

 

Before I finish out this month’s blog challenge, I’d like to take a few moments to talk about something to which most of us can relate.

When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, my parents and grandparents taught us lessons. Some of those lessons came at the end of a parent’s arm, in the form of a solid hand landing on a padded behind. That was before the days when self-expression was encouraged and corporal punishment was banned as being barbaric and cruel.

I’m just making a point about the differences in society between then and now.

One of the big lessons taught in our household, and in many other homes as well, was that there were places in the world where people went hungry on a daily basis, and that we should be grateful for what was placed before us on the table.

I think everyone between the ages of 45 and 100 has echoing voices in your heads right now that testify to that piece of instruction.

My family was considered slightly poor by the standards of children raised in town, whose folks worked in a shop, for IBM, or the university. My dad was blue-collar, and we lived in the country. Those were big considerations back then, too. I didn’t know any of that until high school.

We didn’t go without food, clothing, shelter, fun, a good car, or the rest of the material things that “mattered.” Most of those living in the country had as many or, in come cases, more of their needs taken care of, than those in town, without our mothers having to work outside the home.

We knew we had it good. It was understood. We learned by example when Mom took the time and effort to feed those who came to the door and asked for food and something to drink. Hobos were common in those days.

Our country culture demanded that we provide sustenance to those in need. It never occurred to her to turn someone away without at least a meal and clean, cold water to drink. Usually she gave them iced tea and whatever was leftover from dinner the evening before.

All of which brings us back to the question of that hunger lesson. I know that there are thousands of children all over the U.S. who go to bed knowing real hunger. I was never one of them, thank God, but I’ve known my share of them over the years.

I got to thinking about that this afternoon, and the admonition drilled into children to this day at the dinner table. Children cannot relate to something they’ve never experienced or seen first-hand. Unless the child who lives in the well-kept house, with all the toys scattered unthinkingly throughout, actually sees the consequences of hunger, it’s impossible to get the lesson across.

I’m tempted to wager that the majority middle-class and upper-lower-class citizens have never known hunger in this country. They haven’t gone a few days without something to eat and decent water to drink. If they had experienced real hunger on a regular basis, I doubt it would not exist in the country for long.

The realization of this difference between my generation and those coming up blazed

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14. The lessons of hunger – past and present

By Peter Gill


A fresh famine is threatening Africa, this time in the semi-desert Sahel region of Francophone West Africa. The greatest concern is Niger where a third of the population cannot be sure they will be able to feed themselves or even be fed over the next few months. In the region as a whole there are some ten million people at risk.

The process by which the world has learned of this crisis is familiar. The big relief agencies are allied with the broadcasters, notably the BBC, to report on the growing hunger. This publicity puts pressure on official western aid donors, governments and others, to make sure that threats of mass starvation do not turn into catastrophic reality. Relief agencies add to the pressure by reminding donors that delays to similar East African alerts last year may have contributed to upwards of 50,000 deaths in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

As a means of raising the profile of hunger emergencies, the media-aid agency connection has been a familiar pattern for decades. It is underpinned by increasingly sophisticated international early warning systems that monitor rainfall and cropping, and predict with accuracy the human consequences of drought and poor harvests. All but the most negligent governments in Africa take their responsibilities more seriously than they did, and mobilise local resources alongside the international efforts. The result is that the world should never again witness suffering on the scale seen in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s where 600,000 died of starvation and a new era in the aid relationship was born.

For the past quarter century, the rich North has not been allowed to forget the poor South. As western economies boomed, money flowed into the official and private aid agencies and flowed out again to the Third World. It was a movement that reached its high point in 2005 with the Gleneagles summit, Bob Geldof’s Live 8 and Make Poverty History. Yet there has been no reduction in the number of hungry people in the world; the reverse, in fact — the number has grown and major food emergencies persist.

The worst of them are those exacerbated by conflict. Fighting hampers relief and restricts the media from detailed reporting on the ground. The epicentre of last year’s East African famine was Somalia whose people have been the victims of chronic political instability for the past 20 years and where the militant Islamist group al-Shabab crudely prevented relief from reaching the starving under its control. In neighbouring Ethiopia, the worst of the suffering last year was in the border Somali region where central government faces an armed revolt — just as happened in the North of the country in the 1980s — and across the continent in Niger the current crisis is made worse by an influx of refugees from insurgencies in Nigeria and Mali.

If the world is getting better at managing the effects of extreme poverty, it is simultaneously failing to make poverty history. After more than half a century of application, the promised transformative effects of aid in the poor world have yet to be realised. Major western economies are now losing ground to new powers in the East, and with it the chance to direct the development effort in future. Western aid agencies have concentrated their efforts on health, education and welfare, yet all the new signs of African prosperity are to be found in home-grown entrepreneurship, in a growing middl

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