Drought. And continuing the gratefulness.

Maybe it’s because of Thanksgiving, maybe it’s because of the Advent season, maybe it’s just time for me to be GRATEFUL. For whatever reason I’m still thinking about food + being grateful in everything.
This post has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for quite awhile now. I think it is time to finally “serve it up.”

Last year our friends went through a long drought. We were back in our home country, so when we returned the stories flowed.

For seven months it did not rain. The ground dried up and cracked. Dust clouds filled the air. The green vegetables all died. The cassava and taro food staples all but died. The clove trees died. The coconut trees shriveled up and refused to produce. Malaria mosquitos took over. The river got low. Hundreds of people got sick with malaria and typhoid. The sickest ones hiked down to the hospital to be treated. An overflow camp was set up on the banks of the river. People lay in shacks made of coconut leaves. A baby was born in the shacks, and lay attached to its placenta for several days until it’s parents could find someone to cut the cord (they couldn’t afford the $10 that the local medical worker charged).

Our friends ate ondote: a large poisonous root that has to be soaked in the river for three days before it becomes edible. Ondote makes the skin on your hands thin and painful when you work with it. But ondote is always around, even during the drought.

When we were teaching about the children of Israel in the desert, my co-teacher compared ondote with mana. She said that they are both Gods provision. Mana allowed the Israelites to survive the long and dusty wandering. Ondote is the food that allows them to survive through long and dry and dusty days.

Well that’s a big fat dose of perspective for me. I wouldn’t consider poisonous-root-ondote a blessing. It made me think: are there things in my life that are blessings or provisions, but because of my materialistic mindset I see them as hardships? Do I hold to tightly to my definition of comfort, and then get caught up in complaining when life becomes uncomfortable? Should I be grateful for the ondotes in my life?

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