Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 3: Things We Don't Discuss In Polite Conversation

On the short list?
Poor people.

Imagine a lunch table at work.
People munching on their various sandwiches, salads, and french fries.

Person 1: Yesterday my kid came home talking about Earth day - which I'm fine with. He ended up going through our trash - pulling things out and putting them in the recycle bin.
Person 2: Yeah, my kid came home talking about conserving water, how much food is wasted, and just how many kids are dying from hunger around the world.
Person 1: I hate that. Forget "around the world" - let's start talking people here.
Person 2: Okay. (Waits.)
Person 1: What?
Person 2: I thought you wanted to talk about hungry people here.
Person 1: Uh, no. Not really.

"Not really."
Who really wants to talk about it?
Not many.

Seems to me that many are divided into two categories.
Category 1: Those who have all the answers.
Category 2: Those who are tired of being judged.

Is there a Category 3?

Proposed Category3:
Those who want to learn.
Those who don't have the answers.
Those who aren't so much pointing fingers, but rather saying...

"There's an obvious problem here.
Anyone willing to talk about it?
Learn about it? Grow?"

The reactions I've had from friends and acquaintances, new and old, about this "5 days on $2 or less" project have been varied.

Let me reiterate...
This was supposed to be a "learning" project.
Not a "solving" project.

Why would I bother to do this?
Some might argue...
"Obviously, people who eat only plain white rice each day are hungry and malnourished. Duh."

I guess I'm a slow learner - because, for me, well I need a project like this to get facts out of my head and into my heart.

This is not about the stomach.
Sure - to the extent that being hungry is a reminder that every 5 seconds a child dies from a lack of food - it is. But, largely, this isn't about the stomach.

When did the learning stop?
When did raising an issue, asking questions, wanting to learn...become wrong? Do we have to have all of the answers all of the time? Is it impossible to say, "I don't know and I think I should learn more?"

It's truly amazing to me how many folks will take the time to share how they feel about this project - calling me a woos since I'm not REALLY starving, and that things like this should be done in private anyway.

Okay, I'm not starving.
So, I guess I can't learn anything from it?
That's all I have to say about that.

Now, as for the "this should be done in private" crowd.
What I'm doing is about learning.
It's about not HAVING the answers.

It's about learning that there are even MORE questions.
It's about others like Pari taking a similar, yet different path, and sharing what he's learning along the way.

I'm not saying I'm "holier than thou."
I'm saying, "I DON'T know. "

I should know more.
And, I'm trying to learn."

Know what I've learned so far?

"In America we don't talk about hungry people.
We write a $25 monthly check and sleep well.
And, there's nothing else to learn."


So, come with me for the rest of the ride, if you wish to keep reading.
Leave a comment if you have a blog or website you think would foster learning.

Oh, today's food?
You know...the usual.
Cream of Wheat, rice and beans, and an egg.
And, even more food for thought. Pin It


Jules said...

Ok so let me see if I get this then. Non-polite conversational items are salaries, Cancer, and poor people. Hmmm - I can address those topics in one factual mini-paragraph:

Hi. My name is Julie. I am 39 & currently have Cancer - again - because it was just so much fun the first time. I recently voluntarily took a massive cut in my salary so that I could continue my work, which helps dis-advantaged (aka "poor") people and have learned over the past 2+ years that "poor people" are the most giving folks ever.

I look forward to continuing to read about your journey, Dana, and continue to be your willing cheerleader.

Makalani said...

Hey there Dana, Count me in the third category of folks that really want to learn more about how to help address the issue of hunger.

While it is great to help those overseas, it would be nice to see the same focus on our very own right here at home.

I admire your 5-day journey and look forward to following your blog.


Anonymous said...

great that you're learning.
but maybe this would be better served by internalizing it and writing a post at the end about what you've learned?
you should not stop asking questions - or trying to understand.

Anonymous said...

Hey sis, Nice to know you are still out there asking questions and living a life that is bigger than your own bubble. One thought I had while thinking of the hunger issue by reflecting on free meals at schools for kids (good government program!)...there is hunger then there is nutrition. Food may be free, but often it is pretty bleak in terms of nutrition.

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