a bowl of rice a day.

17 Jul

Number 43 on the list:  Eat only a bowl of rice a day for a week to remember those who do that for most of their life.  Remember the 30,000 people each day who die from poverty and malnutrition.

Google the words “rice” and “poverty” and you’ll get hundreds of articles containing statistics and facts about countries who “survive” (if you feel comfortable calling it that) only on rice.  Articles that write about how Asia eats and produces 90% of the world’s rice on 250 million tiny farms, that most Asians eat rice two or three times a day, that half of every harvest never even leaves the farm, but rather is used to feed the family that planted it.

Malnutrition is defined as a lack of proper nutrition or inadequate or unbalanced nutrition.  The World Health Organization (WHO) cites malnutrition as the largest threat to the world’s public health.  It accounts for just around 60% of the world’s total mortality.  One in twelve people are malnourished.  This means that even if someone never feels hunger, even if they eat all the rice in the world… they’re malnourished.  If they’re just eating rice, they’re malnourished.

They don’t have a choice.  People who have nothing to eat but rice don’t have a choice.  I am not eating anything but one bowl of rice for a whole week.  By choice.  Because I have a choice.  I live in a country that gives me a choice.  I have a job that gives me a choice.  So why would I only eat rice for an entire week if I have a choice?  It’s about gaining perspective.  You can think you understand hunger because one time you skipped lunch to finish a deadline at work or because the other day you slept an extra thirty minutes and you only had time for a cup of coffee.  You think to yourself, “I was really hungry.”  We don’t understand, we CAN’T understand what it’s like to only eat rice unless we only eat rice.  It’s just a week.  I won’t understand much of anything about starvation and malnutrition and poverty after a week.  But I’ll understand a little more than I understood without that one week.

* While Google-ing the words “rice” and “poverty” I got a response for an “informative” article entitled: “The Poverty Diet: A Comparison of the American Diet and Weight Loss Plans in Consideration of Global Food Shortages.”  The tagline read: “Need to lose a few extra pounds?  Visit a developing country and try the poverty diet.”  (I think the author was trying to sound tongue-in-cheek but ended up falling more on the side of foot-in-mouth.)

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