Har­mony Dur­ing a Famine


Special Focus - - Contents - Zhong Risheng 钟日胜

The day be­fore we went to a vil­lage to in­ves­ti­gate the famine, a friend in China heard the news of the famine in Niger on TV and called to check in on me. When I told him that we were hav­ing a non-site inspection the sec­ond day, he screamed and urged me not to go, wor­ry­ing that things would be out of con­trol and that the hun­gry indige­nous peo­ple there would de­vour us as food. His words made me smile.

The Nige­riens are the pick­i­est peo­ple I have ever seen in terms of food. Their crops are mainly mil­lets and sorghums. The veg­eta­bles in their di­ets are com­mon things like pota­toes, let­tuce, cab­bage, etc. Their diet is fixed and mo­not­o­nous, and they will only eat foods that have been tried by their fore­fa­thers or foods gen­er­ally rec­og­nized lo­cally. Foods they have not eaten be­fore or have not seen other peo­ple eat be­fore, they don’t even want to give a try. We planted many Chi­nese veg­eta­bles at the med­i­cal team’s yard. Later when we brought some har­vest to the lo­cals, they wouldn’t eat it. Once, we brought a plate of stir- fried loofah to Udi, a lo­cal guard work­ing with us. Udi put a piece in his mouth, frowned and couldn’t swal­low it no mat­ter how hard he tried. Even­tu­ally he had to spit it out and told us apolo­get­i­cally that he was not used to the taste. Hav­ing seen their fa­ther dis­like it, his chil­dren

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