Monday, May 23, 2011

My African Adventure in Food & Nutrition - Part 1: My Sustainer

It has been a very long time since I last blogged. The past 2 months have been a whirlwind, getting ready for our summer and diving into it. We (James and I) spent 2 weeks in Israel visiting family and now have been in South Sudan for almost 2 weeks.

Over the course of the next 2 months I will focus my blog on what I am learning and experiencing in Africa around the subject of Food & Nutrition. The posts will be less frequent as internet access is a difficult thing to come by!

My Sustainer

Coming here to South Sudan was a difficult decision for me, someone who loves nutrition, because I knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of control or choice over my diet—and that it would be less nutritious than what I eat at home.

Our typical diet here is porridge (made out of maize flour and water) and white bread for breakfast; white rice or maize with beans for lunch; and a repeat for dinner. Sometimes there are cooked leafy greens or some peanut butter added to the beans. To supplement the diet we are fed at the orphanage we occasionally eat some cucumber or plain lettuce from the garden, buy bananas and peanuts at the market and get a mango down off the tree. So basically, I am eating a lot of refined carbs, and limited fruits and vegetables – quite the opposite from my diet at home.

Knowing in advance our diet would be lacking, we packed some vitamins and supplements for us to take each day, but this definitely isn’t a replacement.

I learned a very important lesson this week in a very real way—that God is my Sustainer. In Canada, it is easy to trust myself as sustainer, because I could eat the foods I know are good for me and take the supplements or medications I need. However, here in South Sudan, I don’t have so many options so I cannot rely on myself for sustenance—I need to rely on God.

Although supplements are helpful and I should use what God provides (knowledge, resources) to care for my body, ultimately I must rely on God to sustain my body, to keep it going and keep me healthy. By this, I am not saying that I will remain in great health necessarily, beacause God can use sickness in our lives as well. In Philippians 4:12b – 13, Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

My prayer is that I can learn this contentment that Paul had and trust in God to give my body strength – and continue trusting him in this way even when I return to Canada.


Rachel said...

This is beautiful Karen. So glad to hear you got there safely. We'll be praying for you!

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wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww....I know you must have awesome thrilling adventurous experience there...