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Culture: Eating a Cow

by Brandi

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November 2nd, 2009

Culture: Don’t Waste Your Food – All Parts of the Cow!!?

In many of the lower-income pueblos in Latin America, resources to purchase food can be scarce. Latin America mostly consists of developing or so called third-world countries. Because of their low economic resources, Latin people usually don’t waste any food. In-fact, many will go to extremes to eat a lot of interesting parts of the cow, pig and other animals that most Americans have never even thought of eating.

After living in Latin America for two years and becoming accustomed to their way of life, I was shocked when I returned to the United States and had dinner with my family the first night I returned. It was reverse culture shock for me. I could not believe how much food they wasted. If they couldn’t or didn’t want to eat all of their food, they just left it on their plates and all of it went down the hungry and ever-ready food disposal never to be seen again. It is interesting to me that I used to do the same thing at mealtime before spending two years of my life living among the Latin people. In Latin America, because of economic conditions and lifestyle, they usually eat every piece of their food.

In a way, I wish everyone from more developed countries could have the chance to visit Latin America and live among the people of the poor pueblos. If they did, I believe we would have a very different world. I think people would be less greedy and appreciate what they have much more. I think people of more developed countries would also develop more compassion for the less-fortunate. The mentality of not wasting food has now become part of my life here in the United States. Sometimes I’ll be eating a meal with my wife and when she is finished, there will still be some food left on her plate. I will usually eat it for her because, after living in Latin America, it’s hard for me to see food go to waste. (I have to exercise a lot to burn off all of the extra calories from eating her food as well as mine – I have an indoor bike I enjoy riding frequently.)

In certain parts of Latin America, I saw little children crawling around on dirt floors, putting rocks and dirt in their mouths hoping it was food and I saw some literally starving to death. What an extremely heart wrenching experience it is to see real people and little children dying because of the lack of food. I can’t even explain what it does to you to see someone in that awful condition.

My life has been changed forever after being with people living in this type of difficult situation. When I was a little boy, my mother always told me to eat all of my food because there were children starving in China. I didn’t realize the full extent of her seemingly “nagging” phrase until I actually saw children dying of starvation in third-world countries.

Please give me feedback and let me know your thoughts.

Moral of the Story: What should we do to help? There are humanitarian aid programs we can donate to which help children who don’t have food to survive. Most of us have plenty, or we probably wouldn’t be on the internet reading this blog, and it can mean so much to give to those less-fortunate than us. I would love to hear from you if you decide to donate to a humanitarian aid organization or even to your local food bank. If you need a suggestion of humanitarian aid associations, let me know and I can recommend one or two that give a very high percentage directly to those in need.

Sneak peek at next week: “All Parts of the Cow!!? – Part II”

¡Hasta luego! (“Until later!”)
David S. Clark — President / Director
Click here to learn Spanish!

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2 Responses

  1. colleen says:

    I can understand how you feel about not wanting to waste food. When I was in Honduras we visited an orphange on Sundays. It was such an eye opener. When we arrived there would be singing and always some sort of celebration. The place was well kept even though the facility was older and somewhat short on space. When I commented about how unsanitary an open water container seemed that some kids were playing in I was told “that is the drinking water”. They wanted to share food with us but we could not bring ourselves to take away from anyone. One visit I brought candy which our group normally did but I came alone so there wasn’t very much to go around. I spoke to the man who ran everything and told him maybe I should just put it away and save it for next time. He said no it will be fine. The kids knew what was in the bag, somebody peeked…after lunch I waited as long as I could hoping we would leave. They lined up eagerly smiling and waiting for me to pass out the jolly ranchers. The bigger kids were in front and I thought “Great- now the little ones will miss out!” But I was surprized and greatly humbled to see the bigger kids take only one piece and bite off smaller pieces and give them to the other kids. I still get choked up when I think about this considering like you said how much goes to waste without even a second thought. Thanks for giving a place to share stories. I appreciate it.

  2. danwize says:

    @colleen It is amazing to see people who have almost nothing, share the very little they have. In a city called Joinville, SC in Brazil, where I lived for a few months, my friend and I worked in welfare kitchen run by a Catholic parish there. Most days we would go around to the nearby produce vendors and ask for food to serve to women and children at lunch. Even though these vendors had little to give, they would still invariably give us a few heads of lettuce or other vegetables. Whatever they could afford to give.

    A lot of the produce was not in great shape, but after cleaning it and cutting off any bad parts, we were able to salvage most of it. The meals provided were a great blessing to those poor women and children, who were very grateful for the meals provided.

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