饥荒中的和谐

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我们决定前往村落调查饥荒的前一天,国内有一位朋友从电视上看到尼日尔饥荒的消息,打电话询问我的情况。当我告诉他, 我们第二天去了解实际情况时,他失声叫了起来,极力恳求我不要去。他怕那里会失控,怕饥饿的土著会把我们吃了。我听罢不禁莞尔。

尼日尔人是我见过的最不乱吃东西的民族。他们的作物以黍子和高粱为主,蔬菜只是常见的土豆、生菜、白菜等,口味十分单调、固 定。他们只吃前人吃过或者当地普遍认可的食物,如果以前没有吃过或者没看见别人吃过,他们不会轻易去尝试。我们在医疗队驻地种了好些中国蔬菜,收获时,拿去送给当地人,他们都不吃。有一次,我们炒了一盘丝瓜给门卫乌迪一家送去。乌迪尝了一口,皱着眉头许久都咽不下去,最后只好吐出来,抱歉地对我们说吃不惯。孩子见此情景也都摇摇头,不愿再尝试了。我怎么都不理解,按理说丝瓜不苦不 涩,怎么就吃不下呢?不单是乌迪吃不惯,其他门卫也吃不惯,可见尼日尔人的口味真的很顽固。

《古兰经》规定,自死的动物和家畜是禁止食用的。在这次大饥荒中,有许多动物暴尸在村庄附近,可当地百姓宁肯饿死也没人去吃它们。

饥荒期间,尼日尔人的互助精神也给我留下了很深的印象。即便是很穷的人,如果有一口吃的,都愿意分一杯羹给比自己更贫穷的

also shook their heads and didn’t want to give it a try. I couldn’t un­der­stand. Loofah was nei­ther bit­ter nor sour, why couldn’t they swal­low it? Udi was not the only one. Other jan­i­tors wouldn’t try it ei­ther. Nige­rien peo­ple re­ally had stub­born palates.

The Qu­ran stip­u­lates that an­i­mals and live­stock are for­bid­den to eat when they die on their own. In this great famine, there were many an­i­mal corpses ly­ing around the vil­lage, but lo­cal peo­ple would rather starve to death than eat their meat.

Dur­ing the famine, the Nige­rian at­ti­tude of mu­tual aid also im­pressed me deeply. Even the poor, when­ever they got a bite, were will­ing to share it with those poorer than them­selves. There­fore, although there were many beg­gars on the street, few peo­ple were starv­ing to death, since they could al­ways get some­thing to feed their stom­achs. Once, we gave some left­overs to Udi. When he was about to give them to his chil­dren, an old beg­gar ap­peared at his door, ask­ing for help. With­out any hes­i­ta­tion, Udi gave half of the food to the old man, which was very touch­ing to us. He was more com­pas­sion­ate and gen­er­ous than us. What we gave him were only left­overs, but what he handed out was the lifeline food for his fam­ily. His kind­ness was also the rea­son why we didn’t let him go even though he could be quite lazy some­times.

Older gen­er­a­tions in China re­mem­ber that in the 1960s, a great famine hit China. At that time, peo­ple ate what­ever they could find to sur­vive. But in the famine of Niger, no one went to peel bark from the tree or dig wild herbs to relieve their hunger. When the rainy sea­son came in June, var­i­ous plant seeds sprouted from the ground. Among them were many fa­mil­iar wild herbs, such as goutweed, shep­herd’s purse, and white cau­li­flower, which all grew in abun­dance on the road­side with no one to pick them up. On one oc­ca­sion, when some pedes­tri­ans saw us pulling white cauliflow­ers and learned that we planned to eat them, they were so sur­prised that their eyes went wide with sym­pa­thy in their ex­pres­sion. They must have thought that these Chi­nese peo­ple must have been des­per­ately famished to eat those grasses.

In the vil­lage of Hi­landa, we saw many bird nests hang­ing on lo­cust trees like ripe fruits, and traces of fallen and shat­tered bird eggs could be found on the ground. Still, no one went to catch birds or pick up bird eggs to relieve their hunger. We also often saw tur­tles rest­ing in the shade of house, but none of the Nige­ri­ans caught them to make nu­tri­tional soups for their gaunt bod­ies. There were many kinds of wild an­i­mals in the lo­cal area, in­clud­ing an­te­lope, squir­rels, and large lizards, which could be seen quite often in the wilder­ness, yet no one was hunt­ing them. On more than one oc­ca­sion we found a large lizard which had strayed into our house. This kind of lizard is called “five- clawed golden dragon” in some ar­eas of China, which used to be adel­i­cacy on rich peo­ple’s ta­ble. One year af­ter the famine and one month be­fore we re­turned to China, we went to the cap­i­tal Ni­amey for busi­ness. When we passed by Dosso, we en­coun­tered sev­eral wild gi­raffes saun­ter­ing across the road. The sight of all these made me feel ashamed for the thoughts flash­ing through my mind, I couldn’t help ask­ing my­self this ques­tion: “If it were Chi­nese peo­ple liv­ing here, would there be so many deaths due to star­va­tion on this land?”

We have dif­fer­ent be­liefs and habits, but no mat­ter what, hav­ing seen so many wild an­i­mals live hap­pily on this bar­ren land af­ter the famine, we can’t help rever­ing Nige­rien peo­ple for what they’ve done.

( From Chi­ne­seDoc­torsina Smal­lAfricanTown , Guizhou Peo­ple’s Pub­lish­ing House. Trans­la­tion: Lu Qiongyao)

人。因此,虽然街道上的乞丐成群结队,但都能讨到一些食品果腹,很少有人饿死路边。有一次,我们把一些剩菜剩饭送给乌迪,他刚想分给孩子们吃的时候,门外出现一个年老的乞丐,有气无力地请求施舍。他毫不犹豫地把一半饭菜分给老人。乌迪的行为令我们很感动,他比我们更具有同情心,更慷慨大方,我们送给他的只是剩菜剩饭,而从他手中送出的,是一家人活命的口粮。乌迪虽然很懒,但比较善良,这也是我们一直下不了决心解雇他的原因之一。

上了年纪的中国人都记得, 20 世纪 60 年代,中国发生过的大饥荒。当时,人们为了生存,把能吃的东西都拿来果腹。但在尼日尔的饥荒中,没有人去扒树皮、挖野菜充饥。六月份雨季来临的时候, 埋藏在地里的各种植物种子纷纷发芽,有很多我们常见的野菜,如羊角菜、荠菜、白花菜等,一大片一大片长在路边,没人采。有一次,我们在那里扯白花菜,几个行人看见了,得知我们要弄回去吃,一个个惊讶得眼睛瞪得大大的,表情中还掺杂着些许同情——想必我们这些中国人快饿疯了,才如此饥不择食。

在希兰达嘎村,我们见到刺槐树上的鸟巢像累累果实般挂满枝头,地上还有鸟蛋跌落打碎的痕迹,人们也都没有去捉鸟儿、掏鸟蛋来充饥。房前屋后阴凉处,常常发现旱龟在那里休息,也没人去捉来炖汤补身体。当地的野生动物种类很多,什么羚羊、跳鼠、大蜥蜴等,在野外也轻易能遇见,没有人去猎取。有好几次,我们在驻地房 子的墙角发现莽撞闯入的大蜥蜴。这种蜥蜴在国内一些地方,被称为“五爪金龙”,曾是有钱人餐桌上的山珍野味。饥荒发生后一年,在回国之前的一个月,我们去首都尼亚美办事,路过多索地区的时候,还遇到几头野生长颈鹿悠然地穿越马路。目睹这些情景,有时候我为自己闪过脑际的念头感到羞愧,但又不由得问自己,如果换成中国人生活在这里,这次大饥荒还会饿死那么多人吗?

也许信仰和习惯不同,但不管怎么说,饥荒之后,在那片贫瘠的土地上,还能看到各种动物快乐地栖息生活,不能不对尼日尔人产生深深的敬意。

(摘自《非洲小城的中国医生》贵州人民出版社)

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