Earlier this week I gave you a glimpse into “my wild world,” sharing a real battle I face and giving an example of one of those ‘tug-o-war perspective’ stories. I mentioned I would follow-up with another example later in the week, so as promised, here it is:
5-10 kg is what most of our “aged-out” orphan friends prefer, so I travelled to the “supermarket” in a neighboring town with one of these friends. And as we wandered the aisles of this Walmart-sized store, I kept wondering to myself what challenges or temptations might be assaulting his soul. After all, in this market there was an abundance of everything, and yet, he lives a life of lack. Though I’ve grown-up in my home country accustomed to such large supermarkets, it’s an unusual phenomenon for this nation.
So, as I bought food supplies for some whom we help, I let my friend pick out a few things he wanted.
Overall, I was impressed by what I perceived as his restraint, for if I was in his shoes, I probably would have tried to put a lot more things in the cart. Nonetheless, I did have to say ‘no’ to a few things …like when he showed me a two pound block of chocolate and asked if he could have that.
Hold on you chocolate lovers out there, calm down! I wasn’t trying to deny him that rare luxury. It’s just that the chocolate bar he handed me was ‘cooking chocolate’ and I knew it wouldn’t taste anything like he imagined. Instead, I steered him to the ‘regular’ chocolate bar section of the store and let him pick out two bars.
Did I do wrong? Afterwards, David and I were talking about this on the phone, and he thought I should have held onto one of the chocolate bars to give him later rather than letting him go home with both of them. Reason being, the concept of ‘planning ahead’ is not strong in this culture, only because people have been forced to live on the edge of survival for so long. Thus, if I give this young man a bag of apples that is meant to last a week, it is not unheard of to learn that he ate all the apples in 1 day. So did my chocolate generosity (and is it even that when we are only talking about 2 bars) lead him to overindulgence and a sugar high? I don’t know the answer to that, but these are some of the ‘hidden’ issues we have to deal with daily as we come alongside the hungry and poor.