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A new perspective

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The other day I listened to an interview with the author of a book about the North Korean famine of the 1980's. She had interviewed about a dozen defectors about their experiences. All of them had spoken about the first time they encountered a dead body-often they had ridden a bus or a train and a fellow passenger had died of starvation on the journey. The saddest was a kindergarten teacher. She said that normally if one child died, she and the other teachers would have gone to the family home to try to help, but all the children were dying. They fell asleep at their desks, and then stopped coming to school because they were too weak, and then because they had died.

I can't get that image out of my head. A friend made lasagna for us last night, and I couldn't fit the leftovers in my freezer because it was too full. I wonder how many kindergarteners I could keep alive for a week, a month, from the contents of my refrigerator and freezer.

Tonight, after work I will probably spend at least 5 minutes with my head in the refrigerator deciding what to cook for dinner. If we work late my husband will come home and start nibbling, because he's "starved." My kids will come home for the holiday weekend, peek into the freezer and lament that "there's nothing to eat." We struggle with plenty.

I can't correct the terrible inequalities and injustices of the world, but I need to find something to even the scales just a little bit.

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