Has your neighbor eaten?

"How is that my business?" If that was your initial reaction to this headline then we surely have a problem; just go find out if your neighbor has had something to eat and when you return, we'll discuss why that is important.

"How is that my business?" If that was your initial reaction to this headline then we surely have a problem; just go find out if your neighbor has had something to eat and when you return, we’ll discuss why that is important.

You’re back, alright, how are they then? Oh! Glad to know they have had something to eat.

When it comes to food, a little communism is needed--shun individualism and feed a neighbor for hunger could breed anger and greed and motivate violence in neighborhoods.

When I was in Beijing for my graduate studies, I learned that it’s important in Chinese culture to know if your neighbor has had something to eat.

According to one explanation, following the infamous famine born out of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, food became very important and asking whether someone had eaten showed how much they cared for you.

On a recent trip to USA, I had an hour to kill before my train from New York City to Long Island, so I decided to buy myself a few pieces of chicken from KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken).

The pieces were quite huge and I couldn't finish all four. After eating what I could, I threw the balance in the bin, and then something stunning happened!

A black man showed up from nowhere and retrieved my meal from the bin before feasting on it hungrily. I was touched.

For us to fight food insecurity, we must start by valuing food especially those who might have enough supplies.

At most buffet serving restaurants, you see a lot of food being wasted yet there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are starving.

Back to our domiciles, the set up of modern neighborhoods makes it very difficult for people to interact hence hard to know if your neighbor is hungry or not; sad, isn't it?

I reminisce my own childhood, my dad refused to construct a perimeter wall around his house; his argument was that it would keep away neighbors and visitors. True, quite often, I would see neighbors sending kids to ask for salt, draw water from the tap or borrow this and that, occasionally we would do the same; unfortunately, this sense of community is fast fading and being replaced by aloof neighbors.

I live in one such aloof neighborhood where homes are enclosed in high brick walls and thick metallic gates with spikes on top and bulldogs inside; it’s the case for my neighbor on the left and right.

The one on my left, on top of having a high brick wall around his house also keeps a fat and mean bulldog to keep out any nonmembers.

Meanwhile, my neighbor on the right recently replaced a see-through hedge-fence with a cement brick perimeter wall separating our properties.

This Month, Christians shall make merry as they honor the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25; normally after the religious rituals, people serve big meals and eat things that they normally don’t have on their daily menus.

At my dad’s estate, the tradition is normally to invite village members to lunch; given that our residence is on the way from the cathedral, everyone conveniently branches to our place on their way back from prayer…my sisters and cousins then serve lunch to everyone and family members eat last.

Try this out this Christmas; it’s fun.

If you found a man stealing from your garden, the dignified thing is to let him go on uninterrupted, so as long as he’s stealing for his own consumption not for sale.

Philosopher Nicolle Machiavelli said if you give a hungry man food, it’s easier to make him do your bidding.

And with too many hungry people around us, it’s easy for terrorists to recruit new members with food and other fancies used as the bait.

Recently while on a flight from Kigali to Entebbe, a Ugandan police officer mused that, “If a hungry traffic officer caught you in a crime, a small bribe to afford him food for his family would be enough to escape bigger punishment.”

I want to believe that there’s enough food in the world for everyone if those who have enough can give some to their hungry neighbors.

So has your neighbor eaten?



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