Fortify Your Nutrition
The elite dines recommending balanced diet.
“Balanced Diet,” nutritionist lectures every client.
Sure I will prefer sweet over sour,
Fresh fruits and corn flour.
I will be only a fool and unkind to ignore
Stunted children in my country under 5 years, 57% is the roar.
Help all grow healthy, advocate a diet well understood.
Don’t waste a single bread, galloping wine, fixing your mood.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner
The children here have not much to eat, and
Beyond your imagination, much much thinner.
I will sacrifice mouthwatering pastries
Deserts and expensive meals
And pay last of pennies
Fortifying nutrition of stunted here.
Here is the recording of the poem: https://soundcloud.com/rashid-hussain-996738275/fortify-your-nutrition
Rashid Hussain is a Manager of Operations with JSI/Pakistan working on the Integrated Health Systems Strengthening & Service Delivery (IHSS-SD) Activity. He holds a double Masters in HRM and International Relations and has worked for more than 18 years in Administration/HR/Security. Writing is one of his leisure time hobbies.
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.
A Food Day Haiku
Theirs and ours a right
food deserts be gone forever
everyone's bowl full
Denish Moorthy is a Senior Technical Advisor with USAID Advancing Nutrition. He is not a poet. He likes his words to reflect the world around us, which is a rental from the future inhabitants. He also likes puns and wordplay, and seeing others laugh from a well-timed joke (and laughing with them).
Rice and Mirrors
If you substitute rice for potatoes
you would have my version of
growing up in America. When I
was thirteen and had high blood
pressure the doctor said “no gravy
on your potatoes,” but we didn’t eat
potatoes that often and to make
a difference in my diet it would
have had to be less adobo juice
on my rice or less salty soy sauce.
How, exactly, do you tell a doctor
when you’re thirteen that the example
he gave is a bad one, that it may apply
to him but not to me? Then there were
the things we used to do like cover
all the mirrors in the house with blankets
when there was a thunderstorm, practices
that carried over from the old world
that took decades to fade from our lives.
I don’t remember the first time we left
the mirrors uncovered during a storm
but I imagine my mother and father
felt tense, wondering if our house
in America would get struck by lightning,
that maybe the old superstitions
were still right after all these years,
and after all the things they left behind.
I wonder about the first time
my mother and father had a dinner
here without rice.
Did they still feel hungry afterwards,
did they feel slightly lost, standing
as tall as they could on uncertain feet,
in this strange, exotic land?
Jose Padua is the author of A Short History of Monsters, which was chosen by former poet laureate Billy Collins as the winner of the 2019 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. His poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines and journals, such as Bomb, Salon, The Weeklings, Exquisite Corpse, and Another Chicago Magazine. He is a Communications Specialist with John Snow, Inc.
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