Hunger Is Norm for Many

Students who were designated as Third World were given red armbands and rice and water for lunch. PHOTO: Eileen Curren

Students designated as Third World received red armbands and rice and water for lunch.
PHOTO: Eileen Curren

By Ava Burkat
Staff Reporter

“About 793 million people are undernourished globally, down 167 million over the last decade, and 216 million less than in 1990–92,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “In recent years, progress has been hindered by slower and less inclusive economic growth as well as political instability in some developing regions, such as Central Africa and western Asia.”

On November 15, Paul VI students will take part in a World Hunger Day simulation, organized by the Paul VI Student Government Association. The purpose is to raise awareness of hunger and poverty around the world, said Mrs. Hanley, Assistant Principal for Admissions and Student Life. Those in the three different ‘worlds’ will receive different amounts and types of food at lunch.

The ‘first world’ (15%) will be given free pizza, cookies and soft drinks. The ‘second world’ (25%) will receive rice, bread broth, and water. The ‘third world’ (60%) will eat rice and drink water. Everyone will be given an armband with their ‘worlds’ on it. Worlds will be chosen at random and announced during Advisory on November 15.

Social Studies teacher Mr. Richard Donahue has been to Liberia and experienced what hunger is like in the world first-hand. In 2013-14, I went to Liberia to train teachers. It is a very poor country, and the common meal there is rice with a sort of broth or soup poured over it. Meals of cornmeal or oatmeal were other common meals in Liberia. There was some fresh fruit when it was in season, but most people had little or no meat in their diet. Eggs were sometimes available, but they were expensive.”

He recalled, “Most people had a small farm for subsistence farming, and the main crop that they grew was rice. It was important that they had a good crop of rice, because they would store it, and then it would have to last all throughout the year. The markets were open air markets where people put things on a table for sale.”

Mr. Donahue also shared some information about what World Hunger Week has been like in the past. “I remember that there were no tables in the main cafeteria, which represented the third world, and people sat on the floor to eat their food. The meal consisted of a bowl of broth with some rice in it. In contrast, the senior cafeteria was set up to be the first world. The tables had tablecloths on them, and the students ate a much more elaborate meal, which included dessert.   The students assigned to the third world could look in and see the luxury of the first world.”

He concluded, “I am glad that Paul VI holds a hunger awareness day every so often. I think it helps students realize that many people throughout the world do not enjoy the high standard of living that we sometimes take for granted.”

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