Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dilemma of Beans

Esmé's Mommy here.

We were awakened at 7:30 this morning, first by hubby’s phone ringing, then mine, and then Cathrine (our empregada) letting herself in the house, which she never does on a Saturday. And now I’m nervously awaiting word from the hospital, praying our gardener Antonio is okay.

We eat a lot of beans. We don’t eat meat, and most foods, even staples, are very expensive in this country. Beans by the 50kg bag are relatively cheap, so beans seem to be a practical menu option.

We inherited Antonio with the house when we moved in last August. I initially attempted to feed him lunch, but after he refused my food several times, I decided not to push my cooking on him any more. I can take a hint. He’s a grown man and can take care of himself.

He showed up for work one morning this week with half of his face paralyzed. My husband took him to the hospital. Diagnosis? Deficiencies of vitamin Bs.

I have an ethical dilemma here. I don’t want anyone suffering from malnutrition on my watch. Though I try to rationalize and say it's like someone slowly killing himself from smoking or obesity, it's not quite the same. We revisit the lunch situation and discover Antonio does not like beans.

For some reason, I found this a little annoying. It’s not like we’re eating caviar and feeding him scraps. Whatever we eat for lunch is available to him, also.

My annoyance was heightened while I paged through the current Time magazine at the US Embassy, waiting for pages to be added to Esmé and my passports this week. There in black and white and color was an article on world hunger, complete with a photo of villagers fighting over a bag of food in Uganda. Beans are a luxury there.

We reached a semi-compromise. Cathrine is now giving him his plate of food for lunch, so I don’t have to deal with personal rejection when he doesn’t like my cooking.

He seemed to be getting better. Until this morning, when he was bloated and in such pain he couldn’t walk.

So I sit here and wonder, was it my lentils? And I think about Antonio sweetly and patiently helping little miss Esmé fill up a fruit bowl with lemons from our overabundance of lemon trees yesterday. And I’m annoyed with myself for being annoyed.


Summer said...

I hope he's ok. Of course beans can cause bloating and gas but that sounds like something more.

KathyLikesPink said...

Wow. If you're going hungry, yet won't eat a food because you don't LIKE it, then who owns the problem?

Tammy and Parker said...

There have been studies done showing that especially in stressful situations, when faced with eating something they don't like or starving.....many would choose to starve.

Our faith teaches us to set aside a year's supply of food in case of emergency. So many load up on wheat when they have never even eaten anything whole wheat before. A HUGE mistake when an emergency strikes. What to do with all of this wheat that you have never eaten before.

I've taught so many classes on food storage and have tried to drive home the importance of storing what your family will eat and then rotating it into your daily meals.

Would B vitamins be available for this guy?

And I think it would take way more than beans and legumes to cause A's problems. It sounds like he has some other physical issues going on.

Danielle said...

That is a tough situation. I would love to know some of what you make with the beans. I LOVE beans.

angie said...

Oh my gosh. Hope he's OK.......what a dilemma! I especially liked that last part about being annoyed at being annoyed. :)