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.