The Feed

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

Hunger is Complicated, and Sometimes Reality is, too

Hunger is Complicated, and Sometimes Reality is, too

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." --Psalm 43:5

 She was standing in a crib under mosquito netting. Stick legs held this 2-year-old up. She looked under a year old. 

When we arrived at this malnutrition clinic in the mountains of Haiti, we were told to go inside and hold the babies to show them love. At first, I felt strange when we walked in. So…we just choose a baby and pick it up?

“Yes, as long as they aren’t hooked up to tubes.”

I pushed aside the puppy store feeling and realized that it was as if the babies were actually choosing US.

Miralda certainly picked me that day. Her eyes were so big, her body so frail. A giant fan was gently blowing her mosquito netting. I was instantly drawn to her and felt the feeling returned somehow. There could have been no other babies in that room as far as I was concerned.

She laid her head on my chest the moment I picked her up. Her big eyes started drooping and she fell asleep on me.

I asked a staff member, Jodi, what Miralda’s story was.

“Oh,” Jodi paused, flipping through Miralda’s chart. “She’s…not really gaining much weight.”

I asked how long she had been there.

“Since November,” came the reply.

She had been at the clinic for six months. Why wasn’t she gaining weight?

I felt crushed, and to be honest, I felt betrayed.

“But she’s eating MannaPack,” I found myself repeating.

Making it Digestible

Miralda

You see, here at Feed My Starving Children, we do a great job of breaking down the complex stories of hunger to make them “digestible” to the average reader.

We have told you stories of babies from this very clinic. They are admitted to the clinic weighing very little. They are sick, and sometimes they have even been abandoned. But they begin eating MannaPack Rice and before you know it, they are gaining weight, laughing, playing.

And while this is all true – MannaPack meals are jam packed with life-saving nutrients and minerals, and many children do respond almost immediately – some don’t. That is the reality. 

That day, holding a sleeping Miralda, I realized that this – this complex story – is one that deserves to be told. And frankly, the complexity of hunger is why we rely so much on you, our donors and volunteers.

Miralda was constantly fighting off infections. She was even on antibiotics the day I met her. As I was spoon-feeding her MannaPack Rice, I noticed a puddle of diarrhea forming on the floor under her highchair.

There are so many factors and variables to each child’s story. Sometimes the healing just takes longer than we realize.

I know that Miralda will be okay. She’s in the best hands possible at Real Hope for Haiti. She’s eating MannaPack Rice and being treated with whatever medicines are necessary.

Honoring the Reality We Face

I shared this all with a close friend at FMSC when I returned home. She realized she had met Miralda on a trip to Haiti a few months earlier and sent me a photo.

Miralda was barely recognizable, lying in that same crib, attached to a feeding tube.

My friend told me that Miralda couldn’t move. She couldn’t even open her eyes. So yes, Miralda will be okay. I see how far she’s actually come and realize she’s a fighter, and that the clinic is doing all the right things for her.

But it was important for me to realize that these children’s stories are still being written, and many of them aren’t as simple as “kid is malnourished, kid eats MannaPack, kid thrives.”

Hunger is complex. Reality is complex. So let’s honor that truth by digging our heels in a little deeper and rolling up our sleeves a little higher. Thank you for fighting this battle with us.

Until all are fed.

Miralda

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