The Luxury of Storing Food
Whenever I visit the states it always reminds me of just how fortunate and blessed we are to have so many varieties of fresh meat and produce readily available to us. In the remote areas of Tanzania, meat especially is very hard to come by because it is expensive and perishable. Where I live, a typical Maasai girl may not get to eat meat even once a year. Men have access to meat more often, but still not a significant amount when compared to the average daily meat consumption most Americans are used to.
Imagine grocery shopping for only one day at a time, otherwise you only had grain to eat. Since we have no freezer here, everything that’s not shelf-stable has to be consumed right away or it will go bad. This makes it very challenging to provide a balanced diet for our girls, but we make providing meat twice a week a priority. Every Saturday and Sunday we travel to the market and pay market price for the meat the girls will consume that day. It’s not very cost effective to do it this way, but meat is an important part of nutrition for developing children, so we make due.
Cold storage is the key to the variety of fresh foods we have available in our grocery stores and our homes in the US. If we had a freezer at the center in Tanzania we could purchase an entire goat at a time, which would give us over twice the amount of meat for the same cost as buying it on-demand at the market. Getting to eat meat twice a week is already a massive improvement and is what most similar centers in the region provide, but I wonder what if they could get meat 4 days per week? How much healthier could they be, how much more knowledge could they absorb in school?
I never like to stop improving. Sure, 2 days of meat a week is very good, but 4 would be even better – the luxury of storing food!