Sugar Water

            She looks up at me and her eyes widen. She repeats what I have just told her to write down, 11,000 kids die each day from hunger? World Vision says so.  She writes it slowly in big crayola marker
            Our youth group is doing the 30 Hour Famine.  We are making signs and writing down bible verses about hunger and poverty and the poor and about the 11,000 kids that die every day from hunger and its effects. 

15 middle school kids will go for 30 and 24 and 18 or 12 hours without food in the name of feeding the hungry. 

It’s good. 

It’s good right? 

We are raising money, thousands in fact, to give to World Vision.  They say 85% will go towards their projects to fight hunger. 

That’s not too bad.

We will play some games, and take breaks to fill up on fruity juices, and we’ll fall asleep to a Pixar movie, and we’ll wake up and feel hungry, and we’ll talk about hunger and about justice. 

And that is good.  

It is good-because of how wide her eyes gets when she says, 11,000?  That’s so many!!!

And another student that says, I have so much!

I take so much for granted.

I am going to eat slower.

And maybe what these kids do now will carve out grooves in their minds and their hearts and maybe the grooves will make music.

And this is all really good. 

The Skype jingle and the tab in the bottom right hand corner of my computer screen get my attention.  I close the Word document with the schedule for our 30-Hour Famine.  Patrick Ssenyonjo wants to Skype.  I click his picture and wait for the crackling in the background to fade out to his voice.  It’s 8:00 in the morning there, but there is no morning in his greeting.    We talk about the oldest kids getting to go to Kenya to study.  We talk about when we come to visit in July.  All things sound so well with Patrick.  Then Sonja whispers in my ear ask him about food.

So I wait for a pause in the conversation and then ask how are you doing with food at the orphanage?

Patrick doesn’t miss a beat ummm I don’t think we are doing so good right now.  Yes, the last food was yesterday.

I pause to look at Sonja. This is our fear, no food.  Rules, and documents, and no internet, and last months' measles and we cannot find out when they no longer have food until they are hungry already.
So there is no more food?

Patrick replies, Yes, there is no food.

So you don’t have any food to eat today?



Ok, ummm so we sent some money this morning.  We wired it to you.

Oh! Thank you so much!  That will be wonderful!

You should get the money in a few days, maybe by Wednesday.


            I do not understand Patrick.  I cannot figure him out.

Ummm, Patrick?

Yes, Pastor?

What do you do, when there is no food? How do you make it?

Well, you know, we heat up some water and we put sugar in it.

Oh, you drink water with sugar in it?


            We talk for a little longer, and then I tell Patrick that it is getting late and that we need to get going.  I click End Call and Patrick is gone.

            I stare blankly at my computer screen.  Then I turn to Sonja and I begin to laugh.  I repeat what Patrick said,

           We heat up water and put sugar in it.

            I think about how there is no exaggeration in Patrick.  That is just how things are.

            Heat water and put sugar

            Water and sugar

            11,000 children
            Global Food Crisis,
            Fundraiser, Event, Famine, Games, Juice, Movie.
            Sugar Water

            Things change when they enter your living room. 
            Things change when the people on the other side
            of your computer are living on sugar water.