Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mebratu's Empty Plate

I remember seeing those World Vision specials on t.v. when I was a kid. They would show sad pictures of children starving in Ethiopia and I would always end up cleaning my plate off a little better that night at the dinner table. The guilt of wasting my 'plenty' made me try a little harder to eat those green beans.

Well, bringing Ethiopia into my own kitchen has had a similar effect on me. Each night at the dinner table, Mebratu (Luke) performs an amazing feat. First off, I've never seen a child this age eat such a variety of food (spicy things, bland things, gross things.... anything) and then not just eat the token 3 bites of a given food, but clean the plate off.

We were eating leftover Ethiopian chicken the other night (thank you, Heidi!) and I had finished my plate and was walking over to the trash to dump what I had left on my plate. I glanced over at Mebratu as he was walking his plate over and my heart sank. There was literally nothing left on his plate but the bare bones of two pieces of chicken. I don't think my dog could have left those bones more clean. Then I looked down at my chicken bones and this sense of guilt washed over me. There are parts of a piece of chicken that I guess I would say aren't considered 'edible' to me. But not to Mebratu. If I had let him, he would have taken my pieces and finished off the 'food' that was still there.

It made me stop and think about what his life must have been like over there. I imagine that meat or poultry was almost non-existent. (which is why he looks delighted at almost any meal when we set some kind of meat in front of him!) I think if I really knew what he lived through, given his very small size and possible rickets diagnosis (he is not even on the chart at the pediatrician's office for a 5 or 6 year old, according to American standards) and the evidence of his clean chicken bones, I would never want to throw food away again.

8 comments:

Jennifer said...

My name is Jennifer and I read Boundless and found your blog!

I used to work and live at a children's home/church/school. Most of the kids we had were children of Ethiopian immigrants who couldn't care for their kids once they arrived in the U.S. These kids would come to us poor, thin, and with few English skills. We didn't have ESL and the whole place was supported by churches and individuals, no government support.

We ate family-style in the dining hall and sometimes the kids didn't want to eat what was offered. They're kids! I heard that staff had said, "you need to clean your plate. There are starving children in Africa." Apparently kids replied, "we were those starving kids and we don't want it!"

Obviously, some kids had been in the States long enough to understand that they'd never go hungry like that again. I completely support your adoption and that you're raising them to eat well. I thought you might enjoy hearing about my food experience with ETs!

Dorinda said...

We really should remember how fortunate we are to live where we live. Thanks for the reminder!

KLR said...

Thanks for sharing this, Beth.

I am enjoying the glimpses of your journey and the experiences that are just priceless. In the midst of all of the adjustments and sleepless days you get these tiny blessings (realizations) from God.

Karen said...

Thank you Beth for sharing all you do. I love seeing Luke smile :) And your blog certainly does give me pause for wasting food! Blessings

Peter and Nancy said...

I was just thinking the same thing about Bibles -- we have at least 3 different children's Bibles at our house, and 5 more that belong to me and my husband. I've heard true stories about people in other countries, in refugee camps, saving and hoarding pages torn from a Bible. As American Christians, there is so much we can take for granted . . .

The Andersons said...

We have decided to change our vocabulary around here and stop saying, "I'm starving" of "I'm dying of thirst." and similar other things. My kids have become very sensitive to it and correct me all the time.

What a wonderful "perspective adjuster" adoption is.

Beth - I'm praying daily for you and the "daily bread" you need for that day. His mercies are new every morning!

backdoc said...

Beth,
Your family is beautiful and your honest blog is so appealing to me. I've enjoyed reading about your journey. We are awaiting Ethiopian court date for 2 sisters any day now. I would love & appreciate communicating with you via email if you have the time. It would mean a lot to us right now. Blessings to you. Amy backdoc@socket.net Thanks so much

backdoc said...

Beth,
Your family is beautiful and your honest blog is so appealing to me. I've enjoyed reading about your journey. We are awaiting Ethiopian court date for 2 sisters any day now. I would love & appreciate communicating with you via email if you have the time. It would mean a lot to us right now. Blessings to you. Amy backdoc@socket.net Thanks so much