Eat your beans, there are starving children in Africa

By Gregg Heid
Special to The PREVIEW

We’ve all heard our mothers say, “Eat your beans. There are starving children in Africa who would love to have those for dinner.”

When I heard that as a child, or my own boys said it to each other sarcastically at dinner as they picked away at their peas, we did so without a personal experience and could not relate.

Two years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay showed me what real starvation looked like. I saw toddlers with protruding bellies, 4-year-olds fighting over a piece of bread, teens getting very little nourishment and adults eating rice and beans three times a day.

Pope Francis said there are two kinds of people on earth: those who are poor and those who take care of the poor. Jesus said we are to visit prisoners and the sick, and clothe and feed the poor (Matthew 25:35-38).

In the small city of Kitale, Africa, is an orphanage with 45 boys and eight girls. They range in ages from 6 to 18. These kids have lost their parents to genocide, disease or abandonment and were alone living on the streets doing whatever was necessary to survive. Most of them had never had a pair of sandals, sat in a school desk or slept on a bed. Now they have been found and are being taken care of at an orphanage by a small group of adult staff and volunteers.

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This story was posted on November 5, 2015.