America, Have Respect!
ABBY VAN HAITSMA
Class of 2019
6 July 2018
Food. To you and me, it might just be something that we think of as readily accessible all the time, not a big deal, and perhaps mostly from a bag, can, or box. To be completely honest, at times, that’s all I thought food was as well. However, in a place like Tanzania, it is much, much more than that.
One day within the first week of our trip, we took a walk to a local Mama’s house, where she showed us how to make traditional African dishes. When she was setting up, the only food that was brought out was fresh vegetables and fruits, raw meats, uncooked rice, and tools. Then, for the next two hours, we watched (and tried to help), mesmerized at all the work that was being done just to prepare a local meal for us. This is just one example of the respect and thought that locals here have for food.
“How is it that we as Americans can have so little respect for food that we create huge corporations that reduce it down to grease, meat, and the like? ”
While I watched Mama cook, I couldn’t help but think of places like McDonald’s. I thought of it in a way that almost made me angry. How is it that we as Americans can have so little respect for food that we create huge corporations that reduce it down to grease, meat, and the like? How can we accept eating out of a paper bag when there are millions, just like those here, that have to walk miles just to get ingredients to feed their families?
This was a topic of discussion during lunch one day, and Mrs. Ristau made a great comment about how it comes down to how we want to spend our time. She admitted that some days she will say to herself, “Oh, I don’t have time to cook, so let’s order out.” I respect that comment a lot because it brings up a fact that many of us have thought, but don’t want to admit.
To build on that comment, I believe that one of the reasons we as a culture have created this habit, is because we are used to having that second food source. Places to rely on if we “feel too tired,” or “don’t have time,” etc. Imagine having that source taken away, including microwave or instant meals. Would that solve part of our problem? I don’t know.
I keep learning more every day that I’m here, and I wish that others, if they are able, take these opportunities to travel and to experience the world. I thank the people I’ve met so far for showing me how to have this respect. I know that one thing I’m going to do when I get home is try to share what I’ve learned, and try to correct some of my habits that I know have contributed to this problem. I’m excited to see what more I get to learn in the next two weeks.
“I thank the people I’ve met so far for showing me how to have this respect.”
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