Just as despair can come to only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
-Elie Wiesel

From "Hunger: An Unnatural History" by Sharman Apt Russell:

In 1997, I went to Guatemala and spent time with an American woman who had come to this country as a Peace Corps worker. Eventually she married a Guatemalan and settled in the village of Tejar. All across the world, people like this woman find themselves in poor villages where some version of God speaks to them, 'Find a need and fill it.' This woman focused on education. In order to attend school, Guatemalans must pay for a uniform, supplies, and registration fee. The cost per child per year is about $75, an impossible sum for most families. My American went back to her American friends and began a scholarship program that now sends almost a hundred children in Tejar to school. She found the funds for a one-room public library. She worked to set up a daycare where the young children of working parents could get meals and medicine. She transformed lives.

"While in Guatemala, I also went to a few tourist sites, to see the Resplendent Quetzal in the cloud forest and the archaeological ruins in Tikal, where I easily spent $75 many times over. That was my epiphany. I will give money to the woman in Tejar and to organizations like Concern Worldwide. I will help - but only so much, only so far. It is not that I believe these children are less than my own. It is not that I believe I do not have a responsibility for them. It is just that in a world of haves and have-nots, I do not want to give up too much of what I have. I do not want to diminish the complexity and diversity of my life. Instead I will choose to spend another $75 on myself rather than send another child to school, and I will choose to do this over and over again. I no longer think of myself as a good person. I have adjusted to that.

"About 800 million chronically malnourished people live in the world. Almost as many experience food shortages and are vulnerable to sudden hunger, the famine caused by drought or war. The truth is that whatever I am willing to do is not enough. Whatever the woman in Tejar is willing to do is not enough."

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