Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Feed the World
I love to cook healthy meals. I love to try new foods. And I love to eat. Although I love all these things there's one problem. My kids don't always share my enthusiasm. Somehow eggplant, lentils, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, salmon, quinoa and goat cheese just don't excite them the way it does me. And because I'm stubborn or just have a really long learning curve or am an incredible dumbass or all of the above, this does not deter my efforts. I have this fantasy if I just serve it the right way one day they are going to have the epiphany...."oh my god I can't get enough arugula. Thanks mom!" I know that day is never going to come, while I'm alive anyway. But, wouldn't it be great to serve these meals to someone who truly appreciates them....while I am alive? And where oh where would I find that person?
When we first moved to Morocco we had all these crazy delusional ideas of how much inter African travel we were going to do as a family to get the varied spectrum of African life. One of my many, many problems is that I am an idea person and I get really excited about things without researching first. Duh. This plan was totally flawed from the get go. First of all, travel within Africa is ridiculously expensive. Times that by 6. So take a trip to Ghana or send a kid to college? To the more remote African countries there is often only a flight once a week. Bye bye Togo. Then there will be some kind of crazy connection in Dubai or in Europe somewhere that's totally out of the way and will double or triple the travel time. Have you spent 40 hours stuck in an airport with 4 kids? If that isn't enough, these flights are usually at 2am in the morning because that's when the aircraft is available. My family does have a problem getting up to alarm clock set for the middle of the night and making it to the airport. Then that one kid doesn't go to college AND we don't go to Ghana. That's not to say that we won't get to some of these places, just not as many as I originally fantasized...
The Peace Corps has almost 300 volunteers in Morocco. Not only that, Peace Corps Volunteers travel from 14 different West African countries to come to Rabat for health care that they can't get in their host country. Some of these are medical things are serious, but a lot are less dire like getting your wisdom teeth out or an abnormal pap. I can't imagine how fun it's gotta be to get from your site to the nearest airport which is a trek in and of itself taking hours or days to get there. And then fly for hours and hours to know that you're coming to get another pap. Remind me to be thankful that I get to skip the 40 hour pre-exam anticipation and unvagina friendly camel ride and just get right down to it next time I go to the gyno.
Now these volunteers have been living on their own in a village, speaking the local language (whatever it may be), eating the local foods, freezing (if they are up in the mountains of Morocco in winter) or scorching if they live near the equator and getting their bearings in a country where they are the foreigner and everyone knows it. And oh yeah, they only get a small stipend just enough to live in poverty like the rest of the villagers. If you've never considered volunteering for the Peace Corps I'm sure you are now. Oh yeah, alot of them don't have hot water either...so forget that long relaxing shower to let the stress of the situation melt away.
Homeless volunteers looking for a nice hot meal and a bit of home? Me looking for someone to feed flax seed to? YES! This creates the perfect symbiotic relationship. We have them over and get a whole night of their stories of travel and adventure. They get a night of a home cooked meal (more than likely containing flax seed) with native English speakers. (Some of them aren't speakers as much as whiners.) But at least it's in English right? And me? I get a food deprived captive audience to cook for. I figure it's win-win for everyone.
So I'm wondering, as every other mother does. How can I instill this gratefulness that the Peace Corps Volunteers have into my children? I think it's pretty obvious. All I need to do is drop the kids off in a village somewhere for two years with a plastic spork, a stick of gum, an avocado pit and a laptop. Their mission will be to create a recycling program, teach the villagers English and ensure there is clean drinking water. It will be like Survivorman meets Peace Corps Volunteer. After two years their final exam would be to navigate their way back home hiking, biking, repelling, busing, taxing and or cameling. (Ok, I added a little Amazing Race in the mix.) Maybe that's a bit unrealistic. I'm pretty sure they would need flint. Oh well. In the mean time I guess I'll just continue to ensnare and feed the world one Peace Corps Volunteer at a time.
Peace Corps Trivia: What are the top two most common medical ailments of Peace Corps Volunteers?