I am full. Full of food after eating a big nice meal. Today I had spaghetti and sausages. I loved it. It tasted gooooood.
But something didn’t feel right. I looked at all this food on my plate. Both badly planned and badly prepared. Lazy, to say the least. Only spaghetti, sausages and some ketchup. “It is only dinner right?” The usual train of thought. I eat dinner every day. So many dinners to come. Why put much effort into it today? I always have the dinner tomorrow. Yes, of course I always have the dinner tomorrow.
But what if there is no dinner tomorrow? What if this is the last one I get? I will surely be sad that I put so little effort into this? Wouldn’t I?
I guess I would. But I can only guess, and it is because of this simple fact: During my whole life, I have never ever been afraid of not having dinner tomorrow. I have never felt the insecurity of maybe being hungry. Or even worse, the pain and fear of actually being hungry, or having a starving family. And I have not done anything to deserve this.
There is famine in Malawi now. Climate change has given crop failure. Crop failure has given Malawi less food, and less money to buy food. Stocks of food gets smaller, and the prices of the remaining food have increased significantly. Everyone knows that the government system for food distribution is useless. Maize flour originally intended to be sold to those who need it, instead gets sold to traders and vendors. Those will then take the price they can. People can not afford it. It has gotten to expensive. People are hungry and starving. People can’t find food for their families. Their brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands and wives.
It is not very visible. It is not affecting everyone. Some are embarressed to be lacking financially. People go on with their normal lives. What else can they do?
Still, sometimes you see it.
A kid with almost no energy. Only nine years old. To tired to play with his friends. Far to thin to have had enough to eat in quite a while. Then you hear about a prison with three hundred prisoners and no food for almost two weeks. Another day a group of seven kids fighting over half a bowl of rice left behind by someone. One day, you can hear shots being fired from automatic rifles to spread a crowd demonstrating over maldistribution of government-bought food. You can hear people sighing in disbelief when they hear the price they have to pay for a small kilo of maize flour. A kilo they only want to use to feed their family.
And here I am with my spaghetti. I ate 2 NOK of spaghetti today. I ate sausages worth 6 NOK. Those sausages are truly luxury food.
The contrast is immense: In Norway, you can get a cup of coffee and a waffle for 81 NOK. And the most unfair part: When I am finished with the MOVE exchange, I can go home to Norway, and in one day I can earn what an avarage Malawian can only hope to earn in four months. I am 22 years old. I have no higher education. All I have is my Norwegian passport.
I want to show you the famous meal I have been talking about. So after swallowing the bitter taste in my mouth, I cooked it again, took a picture of it, and gave the spaghetti and sausages to our watchman. The man hired to make sure I feel safer at night.
But I am Norwegian. I am far more guilty of climate change than any of my watchmen, friends, coworkers or neighboors here in Nkhotkota. Every day, we, the climate changers, are making millions of the people we are sharing this planet with hungry and unsafe.