Converastion with Irene continued...

So hopefully you started with part 1 and you grasped that Irene has to gather water… onto part 2 of waking at 4 am.

Irene also has to gather wood for the aunt. In Uganda they begin to cook their dried beans early in the day, because that is how long it takes to cook dried beans. Their meals are cooked over open fires. Those of us in the west- we can go to the grocery store and purchase whatever we need under plastic or in a box. Or run through a drive thru- no such thing in Northern Uganda. In Uganda they grow their food supply for a year in their own “yard”. Can you imagine?

But let me back up just a bit. At four zero zero this 14 year old young girl is gathering water and firewood for the day for her aunt. Now you may ask- where does she gather this wood? From the woods down the road from where she lives. I know I probably say this too often, but- I grew up on farm, I think I have a little knowledge in these things- then I have to be honest & shout- I have NO DESIRE to walk into the woods near my family’s farm at 4 am! My boys might do this in deer hunt- but I am consoled by the point that they are holding guns in their wood wanderings while it is still dark. Not to paint a bleak picture of Uganda- but I would NOT want my boys to wander in the woods of Uganda at 4am with or without a gun. Much less a 14 year old girl!!

Once again there is this point of how do you cook your food? I turn on the stove or over & poof like magic- there is heat! Enough heat to quickly boil my water or cook my food. (And we all know, I have an electric kettle- if I want a pour over coffee or tea- so easy!) If I have dried beans I put them in a crock pot for the day, no tending, no thought of watching it all day. Because our house has electricity! Most of the huts all around the world, do NOT have electricity. I have no thought of having to tending and keeping my fire going. And if I want a fire going, I ask my husband to turn on the grill- again- no thought to lighting this fire, simple press the ignitor button. Or having a fire in our fire pit! It is a LUZURY- we want to have a fire with real wood, because we CAN- not because this is the way we eat everyday.

What are your processes of cooking your food? Again, I am hoping you are trying to get the image of what I am wrestling with in my thoughts- WHY is there such a VAST step from how we live in the West to those in the third world.

Some of you might say, “Oh it’s just like us camping” if you have every REI gadget- NO… NO it is NOT. When we go camping, it is a choice to rough it, not the only option we are given.

SO again I am asking you to help me dream BIG! HOW DO WE share the goodness of our advances in the west, with the poorest of the poor? WE can not be ok with leaving them living like the 1700-1800 of early America! For the sake of Irene, who genuinely wants to be a doctor- we have to make some changes! Any suggestions? WE are open to ANY ideas, any dreams, any solutions. If this is also piercing your heart, please join this story!

Nancy Hester