As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: Episode 64

As A Peace-Loving Global Citizen: An Autobiography by Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Chapter 7: Future of Korea, Future of the World
Going Beyond Charity to End Hunger, pg 234-236

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Going Beyond Charity to End Hunger

To solve the problem of hunger, we must have a patient heart that is willing to plant seeds. Seeds are planted and wait unseen under the soil until they are able to germinate and break through their outer cover. Similarly, it is better in the long term to teach a person how to plant and harvest wheat and then turn it into bread than it is to give a piece of bread to a person who is about to die. The former may be more difficult and not result in as much public recognition, but it is the only way to arrive at a fundamental and sustainable solution to world hunger. We need to begin now to study the climate, the soil, and the character of the people in areas that suffer from hunger.

There is a species of tree called the moringa. The people in the Congo feed the leaves of this tree, which are high in nutrition, to their children to supplement their diet. They pound these leaves on a stone mill, add some oil, and fry them in batter. They also feed them to their cattle to fatten them up before taking them to market. 

It may be a good idea to plant many moringa trees and make powder out of the entire tree after throwing out the root, which is poisonous. The powder can be used to make bread. Many countries could follow this example and plant moringa trees. Also, Jerusalem artichokes, which look like sweet potatoes, grow very quickly once they are planted. The amount that can be harvested is three times greater than that of other famine relief crops. Planting a lot of Jerusalem artichokes is another way to contribute to resolving the hunger problem.

In Jardim, a large earthworm is used in farming, and this makes the soil quite fertile. This earthworm exists only in South America, but perhaps we can study its ecology and use it to help agriculture in other areas. Koreans are working in Brazil’s Mato Grosso region to study silkworms. If the cultivation of silkworms is successful there, it will be possible to make silk cheaply and sell it to buy food.

There is no quick fix to the problem of world hunger. People in each country have different tastes for food and different customs, and the plants and animals are different. The important point is concern for our neighbors. We first need to develop the heart that, when we are eating enough to fill our own stomachs, we think of others who are going hungry and consider how we can help them. True peace will not come as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger. If the person next to me is about to die of hunger, peace is a mere luxury.

It is as important to teach the skills needed to become self-sufficient in producing food as it is to distribute food directly to those in need. To teach such skills, we need to build schools in remote areas to combat illiteracy. Technical schools will need to be established in order to give people the ability to support themselves. The Westerners who conquered Africa and South America did not do enough to provide technology to the people who were already there. They only used the people as laborers as they sought to dig up and take away the resources buried in the ground. They did not teach the people how to farm or how to operate a factory. This was not right. Our church has, from the early stage of our foreign mission work, established schools in places such as the Congo for teaching agriculture and industrial technology.

Another problem faced by people suffering from hunger is that they cannot afford proper medical treatment when they become ill. On the one side of the world, developed countries are seeing an overuse of drugs, while on the other side of the world, people who are hungry often die because they cannot afford simple medicine for diarrhea. Therefore, as we work to eradicate hunger we must also provide medical support. We must establish clinics and care for those who suffer from chronic illness.

For example, centering on the New Hope Farms in Jardim, Brazil, I donated ambulances and medical equipment to over thirty surrounding small towns. I created New Hope Farms as a model to show how humanity can live together in peace. We tilled a wide expanse of land to make farmland, and there is a cattle ranch in the higher elevations.

Although New Hope Farms is in Brazil, it does not belong only to the people of Brazil. Anyone who is hungry can go to New Hope Farms, work, and be fed. Some two thousand people from all races and from all over the world can always eat and sleep there. We will establish schools all the way from elementary levels to university. People will be taught how to farm and how to raise cattle. We will also teach how to plant and grow trees and how to catch, process, and sell fish. We do not have only a farm. We use the numerous lakes in the vicinity of the river to create fish farms and fishing grounds.

Paraguay’s Chaco region occupies sixty percent of that country’s territory, but it has been a neglected land. The Chaco region was formed when the sea rose to cover the land, and even now, you get salty water gushing up when you dig into the ground. I was in my seventies when I first went to Paraguay. The lives of the people living in this long-neglected land were impoverished beyond words. It caused me great pain in my heart to see them. I sincerely wanted to help them, but they were not prepared to easily accept me, a person of a different skin color who spoke a different language.

I did not give up, however. I traveled the Paraguay River for three months, eating and sleeping with people from the area. At more than seventy years of age, I was taking on a task that people said was impossible. I taught the people I met what I knew about fishing, and they taught me their language. We were on the boat like this together for three months and became friends.

Once they began to open their hearts, I talked to them again and again about why the world must become one. At first, their reaction was indifferent. Year by year, though, the people of Paraguay began to change. After ten years, they changed so much that they held a global peace festival with great enthusiasm.

Resolving the food situation does not mean that peace will follow immediately. After the hunger issue has been resolved, it is important to carry out educational programs on peace and love. I have built schools in places such as Jardim and Chaco. At first, people didn’t send their children to school but instead had them help raise their cattle. We worked hard to convince them that the children and young people needed an education. As a result, we now have many students. We built a light industrial factory where they could produce items using simple technologies, and the students became more interested in attending school so they could work in the factory.

We are all responsible for the people around the world who die of hunger. We need to take action to help them. We need to feel a clear sense of responsibility and find a way that they can be fed and saved. People who live well should come down to a slightly lower position and raise up those who live poorly to bring about a world where all people live well.

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