No Choice But Hunger

I read about a woman in Bangladesh. The only thing she owns is the sari she is wearing. She has a son who is a drug addict and because the aid agencies classify her as having an able bodied family member—his addiction and his absence are not factored in in the way they evaluate the needy—she is not able to receive food aid. On days when she works she can eat. On those days she gives or shares her food with her grandson. When she cannot work they both have nothing. The woman’s plight was part of a story about the horrific choices the food aid agencies have to make these days. The economic crisis has meant that less countries are able to give and those who do tend to give less, which all adds up to the fact that food aid agencies have serious food shortages and are having to chose who they can help and who they cannot. One can only imagine the story of this woman multiplied by thousands not only in Bangladesh but also in other countries. Similarly one can have feelings for the aid workers faced with such heart breaking stories on a daily basis, forced as they are to engage in a kind of Sophie’s choice. And all the while a reader is humbled by the lives of those with no choice but hunger, and by the impossible task of aid-workers.