People in Venezuela and the Philippines are resorting to drastic measures just to eat
In America, we have so many blessings and resources at our fingertips that, if not careful, we can quickly take for granted what has been given to us in this blessed land. By looking at what is happening in the nations around the world, we are quickly reminded of this reality. For example, Venezuela’s economy is in catastrophic free fall. Right now, a basket of groceries, not a basket that you push, but a basket that you carry, is four times the monthly income of what many earn. As CNN Money shares, “Venezuela’s socialist government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, raised the minimum wage 60% on Sunday to 200,021 bolivares ($45) a month, including food stamps.” The problem with this increase in income is that is falls devastatingly short of the cost for basic items, like food. “In March, a basket of basic grocery items — including eggs, milk and fruit — cost 772,614 bolivares, or close to four times the monthly minimum wage…” As a result, riots are clashing with leadership in Venezuela. “On Tuesday, Maduro suspended Venezuelans’ right to carry firearms as weeks of anti-government protests stretch into the spring.”
If the rising costs aren’t enough of an uphill battle to overcome, it’s the lack of food. “Last year, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost about 19 pounds due to the lack of food.” As previously stated, the minimum wage was increased by 60%. Sadly enough, this didn’t make a dent on the reality for those needing to buy basic food items because of the weakening Venezuelan currency. “…inflation is expected to rise 720% this year and over 2,000% next year, according to the IMF. One bolivar is worth less than one cent.”
This is an important paradigm to understand. Only a few short months ago, we had a Presidential Candidate who ran on the platform of establishing a Socialistic form of government; the government would provide everything for you. Venezuela is demonstrating to the world that this approach to government simply does not work.
We cannot buy into this pattern of thought and believe that we should no longer work and expect the government to provide for us. We cannot take our ability to work for granted. We are blessed in America to have the amount of choices that we have. The blessings that we do have should not be primarily used on ourselves, but to be a blessing to others. But, what is happening in Venezuela goes a step further.
There are certain areas within the Philippines where people would consider it a blessing to simply be able to buy any type of food for themselves. Instead, they are willing to buy the leftover food that someone else has thrown away. It’s called ‘Pag Pag’, and many are grateful for it as it is the only food they must feed their families.
In Tondo, Manila, people spend their days looking for food with enough meat left on the bones, to eat for themselves. Others take the time to find pag pag, clean and wash it, and sell it to others. As one woman describes, “selling pag pag is how I support my family”. As she was initially apprehensive of starting to sell pag pag because of the possibility of getting sick from it, others encouraged her. “They convinced me that as long as I wash it well and if I recook it, then it would be all right.” After a full day of selling pag pag, then she can buy food for her family; water and rice.
Another woman describes how important it is to wash pag pag to keep from getting sick. Afterwards, there are certain ways to cook it. “You need to boil pag pag before you recook it because pag pag is another person’s leftovers. It’s been through other people’s mouths. The leftovers have been mixed with other food wastes and rubbish.”
This is heartbreaking. We cannot take for granted all that has been given to us. We cannot horde what God allows us to have. We will be held accountable for all that He has given us. How often do we find ourselves complaining about not being able to find the one food item in the grocery store because there are so many aisles? When one particular woman visited America, she decided to bring back a few souvenirs for her family and friends. What she brought back will shock you! She took food advertisements to show other people the food that is available in America.
Psalm 100:4 reminds us of how we are to walk out each day, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” We will find ourselves complaining much less when we start with gratitude. Instead of counting our hardships with a calculator, and our blessings with our fingers, it should be the other way around. When we begin our day with gratitude, we are reminding ourselves that we are not the ones providing for us, but it is by the Hand of the Lord that we are afforded the blessings that we have. To know what God wants to do with the resources that He has blessed us with, we must know His voice. Abiding is that daily exchange with the Lord; hearing His voice, knowing His voice, and obeying His voice.
Take this time to see the full story of what is happening in nations around the world as you get a perspective for all the blessings that you have been provided with, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: inflation, hyperinflation, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela, Socialism, Haiti, Philippines, leftover food, gratitude, thanksgiving, empathy, and prayer. John and Steve shared in this segment.
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