Friday, March 31, 2006

Food … and Abundant Mangoes

Just before our group headed to Lui in late February 2006, I heard the people of Lui were suffering from major drought and shortages of food. But I also heard that – thanks be to God! – the mango trees were beginning to bear fruit. Indeed they were, when we arrived. I thought surely this was a good thing – as it would give them food and nourishment.

The mango trees in Lui are a thing of beauty. They are huge, sheltering shade trees. It feels much cooler under the spreading branches of the mango than it does in the sunshine outside. And the fruits hang down so deliciously. I saw many, many people – and especially many children – using branches or any long implement to knock the mango fruit off the trees. And I assumed this was a good thing. But now I am informed that they were harvesting the mangoes before they were ripe, and that people are becoming sick as a result. People who are dying of hunger and thirst are harvesting the mangoes to feed themselves and provide a source of liquid, and this is killing them?? How can this be? – when we can afford to spend $3 and up for coffee and have so much food that we throw it away day after day?

I am speechless at the injustice of it!

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