I Am Food
I am as powerful as life, but also as deadly as death.
My presence springs joy and wide beautiful smiles.
Faces light up and bellies jubilate.
My absence brings discomfort, growling bellies,
sad faces and diseased bodies.
Leaders and ordinary people from all walks of life
gather at round tables to discuss my present and future.
Big and small machines are assembled
to crush me, grind me, cut and even cook me.
I am the mutton of Kazakhstan
The nsima of Zambia
The chapati of Pakistan
The rice of Vietnam
The wot of Ethiopia
The ugali of Tanzania
The baguette of France
I may be important but am scarce in some parts of the world.
The poor understand my scarcity more. Like:
That frail, sick child in Central African Republic
who desires, longs and craves for me yet cannot have me.
That old poor woman in Chad who cannot afford me
because am priced highly.
That hardworking farmer in Malawi who can only have me
in one form because production and processing fees are unaffordable.
That other farmer in Madagascar who could not harvest me
because there was drought and locust attacks.
That street kid in Zambia who only has me once
and survives the rest of the days on Jenkem.
They say the world has enough of me to feed everyone.
Yet I still wonder why some people go hungry for days.
Why so many children die of malnutrition in Timor Leste.
Why some women are forced to sell their bodies
just to feed their children and families in Kenya.
Why people still have unbalanced meals and risk disease.
My only wish is to see food security boosted,
Agriculture production enhanced.
I wish to see a world where the right to have access
to safe and nutritious food is not just on paper but in the actual homes.
Where political will and commitment to achieve food security
is not just a mere political slogan but a committed act.
My wish is to see everyone young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated
work together to achieve world food security for all.
I AM FOOD AND I AM IMPORTANT!
Betty K. Makalu is a Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) Counselor at JSI - Discover Health Zambia. Her passion is serving communities through the provision of information related to health and development. She holds a BA in Development Studies.