May 06, 2005

How do you feed the children?

The newspaper headline this morning here in Guatemala City was stark: 50% of Guatemalan Children Are Chronically Malnourished. It came with a helpful photograph of three small children sitting by the side of the road eating some meager looking tortillas. The poverty in Guatemala is breathtaking, as I'm sure poverty is anywhere. But when you put that statistic to it, it becomes much smaller and more immediate, the scope of the poverty, that is. Poverty becomes a hungry child, it's really that simple.

The consequences, it seems to me, are much graver than simply a child without enough to eat, a child who goes to bed hungry. Chronic malnutrition will stunt brain growth and will make it easier for disease to grab ahold. The malnourished child today, assuming he lives, will be the burden to society later, unable to earn more than a subsistence wage, if that. This seems fairly obvious. Solve the hunger problem and you give society as a whole a fighting chance.

The problem is that I don't see it changing in the near future.

Pity the hungry children in Guatemala. They deserve at least that.

I feel totally helpless.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 6, 2005 05:09 PM

I feel like that everyday. Now that I have a child I feel it deep inside me even more. The scary part is that many Americans are completely oblivious to it.

"We just want cheap gas man!"

Posted by: Dr Pants at May 6, 2005 06:01 PM

I don't know that I can agree, Doc. One, I think it is difficult to generalize about what many of 250 million people think. And two, I think that by and large Americans are a pretty generous people who are concerned about world hunger and about children in general. There are lots of volunteer opportunities for those who are inclined to get involved.

That said, I certainly wouldn't mind some cheaper gas!

Any way, thanks for your comment, even if I happen to disagree. But after all, that's what makes a horse race.

Posted by: RP at May 6, 2005 08:15 PM

If there is a large portion of the population that is hardened towards the malnourished and starving children, I think some of the blame should be put on the media. When I turn on the tv in the afternoon on weekends or at non-peak hours and the local station is playing a 1 hour infomercial with constant pictures of kids with bloated bellies and sad eyes, it almost makes me sick.

The constant bombardment of emotion wrenching images, especially when you personally are unable to help in any way make you feel helpless and most people just turn off, shut out, and change the channel. It's a numbing of our conscience, and it's not helping. I KNOW there are starving children, I KNOW there are abused and endangered animals, but there's nothing I can do, no money I can give and sentiment doesn't exactly fill their bellies with food.

Posted by: Oorgo at May 9, 2005 01:41 PM

It's so sad when you think about how much there is to do to safeguard children. From either Guatemala or anywhere else...

Posted by: Jester at May 9, 2005 10:22 PM

I think 2nd hardest job I ever had to do was volunteering to be an aid worker for several months in the amazon jungle.

It was gut and heart wrenching work, but one in which I did my part to help. That's why I'm somewhat involved with It not only gives people the tools to "fish" or farm, it teaches them how to do it! The only true way to combat hunger is by addressing and undoing the issues that cause it, rather than throwing money at a problem (which is always needed short term) which needs better and more well planned solutions long term.

Another great post! Thanks... that's it for me...3 comments is my max per site.

Posted by: michele at May 10, 2005 01:00 PM
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