This is a hungry time of year in Africa, the rains have begun but the fruit of last season's harvest has dwindled. Our elderly neighbor came asking for food this morning. A group of our boys spent a post- soccer hour shaking down the mango tree mid-day for ripe fruit, then Julia's friends showed up in the late afternoon to collect even more. I'm thankful the tree is having a bumper year to bless our friends, for these kids is it not an expendable pie to celebrate a birthday but perhaps the only food until dinner they can get their hands on. It is hard to imagine surviving here without our cow and her milk, and as thankful as I am for our small garden and few fruit trees we lean heavily on our cash to purchase food that others can not. Last night I was called by a doctor from UNICEF, who slowly and indirectly and politely made it clear that the organization is hesitating to re- supply our nutrition unit. The indirect and Africa-correct reason: all their stocks are designated by donors for the LRA-affected areas in the north. The real reason: I don't know, but I'm hoping to make a personal visit on the way to Kenya, to stop in their office and beg.
And so the classic and constant tension of savoring the richness of a golden mango and a creamy flow of milk, while strenuously advocating for the listless and scabby kids whose mothers drag them into the hospital as a place of last resort. East African population growth leads the world, and Uganda leads East Africa, so that today's paper reported that 8.8 million more people were hungry in this region than when we arrived about sixteen years ago. This place can produce both a fruitful tree, and yet the even more fruitful population means that hunger continues to rise, that abundance slips behind want.
Pray that we would enjoy the bounty of God's good earth with grateful hearts, and that we would use the ensuing energy to strive for justice.