On This Side of the Sun

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As I worked out, I glanced up at the television playing in the gym. There it was, that thirty-second commercial about children in under-developed countries starving. I became overwhelmed with sadness and guilt. I waste a lot of food. Either I forget I bought a perishable item or I just don’t want to eat the item anymore. My heart breaks for as I am a mother and grandmother and I could not imagine my children or their children starving.

As the camera scans the tear-stained young faces, the flashbacks begin. I know hunger. I know what it feels like to go to bed with stomach cramps due to emptiness. I understand the erosion of energy stolen from the lack of nutrition. I witnessed my brothers and little sister cry. See, they, too, could not understand the hunger pains. As the oldest, I sacrificed every free morsel available because I could not handle my younger siblings’ cries. There were days we ate cornmeal boiled in hot water. There was no sugar or butter. When you are hungry, cornmeal mush tastes like heaven. If we were lucky, mom could afford to buy spaghetti and sauce. We drank lot of water just to feel full. I was young and thought all children ate that way.

As the commercial ended and once more scanned the faces of those foreign children, I felt connected. We are kindred spirits. Hunger unites us. On this side of the sun, there are children unnecessarily crying themselves to sleep as their swollen stomachs yearn for at least one good meal. There is enough food on this earth to provide at least three healthy meals to every child.

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