Awareness, Free Range Eggs and Adoption


Have you ever turned off the TV or put down a National Geographic because the pictures of destroyed homes, dusty and barren fields, and bloated, hungry children was more than you could bear? If you’re like me, these images and statistics are more than I care to tackle. I know there is incredible suffering and poverty in North America; I have done hurricane relief in the US and helped on Native Reservations. Yet somehow, traveling to Africa and Asia has challenged me even more as I have seen the enormity and complexity of global poverty.

I know. This is blog is supposed to be lighthearted, a collection of cultural guffaws. But in many ways, being in an intercultural marriage has opened my eyes to things I would rather not see. And yet, now that I have seen them, the images are forever seared into my memory. Children digging through garbage. Mothers begging for food to feed a starving infant.

In light of these experiences, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, Varun and I have been reconsidering the use of our finances, time and resources.

Because we come from two incredibly differing backgrounds and are becoming increasingly aware of the world around us, we are trying to put a lot of time and thought into how we should live. Many of our assumptions and “givens” are not actually shared. So, as we journey into adulthood and are faced with options about careers, spending, saving, children, etc, we are trying to be intentional in praying and considering how to actually spend our lives.

As a result, we’ve been reading a few books and making a few small changes. Some changes are still in our thoughts, some are in the works but not official, and some are being implemented. One small change we’re making is to try to buy local, organic and free range. This can be heart-breakingly expensive but because we are trying to value the environment and our health, we feel this is a worthwhile pursuit. (There are still many aspects of this which are confusing.)

For example. The other day at the grocery store I was blown away to see that free-run eggs were $2.39 for 6, and normal-live-and-die-in-a-box eggs were $2.49 for 12. Ouch.

And then I saw this:

In Canada, food labels are printed in English and French. And when I read the French, my heart just about broke, “Hens in liberty”. *SOB*. I bought them.

I’m curious though, what do you buy local or organic? Everything or just certain veggies? How do you wrestle with the desire to eat healthy food, support local farms AND maintain a budget?

Some of the books we have been reading that have been really influential are:

How does shopping at Gap affect orphans in Burkina Faso? How does ordering off Amazon affect the rainforests? This little purse-sized guide gives you succinct and helpful thoughts on 1000's of companies

This book is perhaps my favorite, even though I’ve only listened to about 1/100th of it. I am saddened by the orphan crisis around the world and pray each day that God would guide us in considering adoption. I know it’s complex, I know it’s challenging: but I cannot wait to adopt!

This is a heavy post. I realize that. It’s our desire, however, that in combining two cultures we don’t merely have AWESOMELY tasty suppers every night, but that we also develop a heart and a lifestyle that reflects the needs of the worlds in which we live.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emily Morrice
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 14:41:51

    Great post!!!
    Please adopt!!!
    I love that you’re thinking heavily about it and Russel Moore is great- he was one of Brads profs at Southern and I went to his Adoption session at The Gospel Coalition… Love!
    Excited to see where God leads your family!
    Ps- to answer your Q about local & organic- I’m mad about buying used items since I can’t usually afford local (Montreal designers, hello!)- figure that way I’m still not supporting anything other than the local Goodwill and my neighbours via craigslist…. And as far as organic I only buy the things I find taste better when organic (ie strawberries), shamefully, the motive is still my comfort :(


  2. Team Oyeniyi
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 04:58:56

    I agree witht eh above comment, great post. You actually haven’t strayed from the cultural theme – this is all part of it.

    I’d love to buy organic, but it is way too expensive here when living for 6 on one wage. Essentially I do buy local as far as food is concerned. I do buy free range eggs!

    As an atheist, I’m not into the religious aspects, but certainly, like you, I am very aware of how lucky we really are. Trying to get that across to the children can be a challenge though – while their Dad was an asylum seeker, they were not as badly off as many others in the world. We sponsor a child in Mozambique and while that has been hard to keep going during our trials, I refuse to not find that $43 a month.


  3. yolanda
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 05:01:05

    I like the humour in your posts, but I also like this one! You’re right the global poverty is enormous and complex! If one had to pick any two adjectives, I would agree that those are right on! And I think you’re right that changing the way we live our very priveleged lives is an incredibly appropriate response.

    I don’t know whether the book which you mentionned was about domestic or international adoption. Personally, I’m not a big fan of international adoption for a number of reasons, and have heard a number of critiques here in Burundi, even though it actually is not nearly as large of an industry here as in, say, Ethiopia. I have been really inspired by the domestic response to high rates of orphans here, though. One of my colleagues is an excellent example. A couple of his siblings and in-laws have passed away, and he, like so many Burundians, has taken them into his home, even though he is not rich. He now has 10 children to feed and support through school, and he and his wife (a school teacher) work very hard to do so, without receiving any aid. This way children continue to live in their own communities, and with extended family. In fact, this is the norm in Burundi! Although many many people have died over the past decades in Burundi, due to civil war, HIV/AIDs, etc., and there are very high rates of orphans, most are able to find homes with extended family – aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, second cousins – or neighbours. Often it is a struggle for these very poor families to support extra children, but they do their best given the conditions in which they live. In one commune in which we work, my colleagues believe that over 50% of households are also raising orphans alongside their own children. While it is a sad reality that so many children are orphaned, it is also a testimony to the cultural and social safety-nets that exist in a country with very few official or externally introduced systems for child support. It is very rare that there would be orphans with no relations at all. Of course, this system is not without problems either. In fact, their are many many challenges. But it’s exciting to see initiatives to strengthen these systems and support families raising orphans within their own communities and cultures. It’s also a challenge – it is a daily lived, very costly act of love for the often very poor families involved – and there is so much we can learn from them.

    Also, the hens in liberty thing is hilarious! As long as they aren’t free range in my vegetable garden! And the first book on that list looks really interesting. I like the idea of taking ones faith back from the American dream. It seems especially pertinent in light of global economic crises.


  4. Beth
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 08:00:52

    i am so wishy-washy (cheap) on buying local and organic.
    i do refuse to buy apples that aren’t canadian, and do the occasional shop at my local farmers’ market, but i would really like to be more committed than that. i am lame about living what i believe in this area.

    can i borrow the pocket guide sometime?


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