This flu took a lot out of me as big city traffic, rain, and popping pills don’t really mix. There were many people who sent me get well emails including Debbi Matte, my battery sponsor (Batteries Plus), who looked after me like a mother hen and sent me jokes to cheer me up. Thank you guys.
I made Portland a little after 4 and started looking for a rack to replace the broken one. The only place I knew that carried the same rack was Wal-Mart, but since Portland is anti Wal-Mart, I had one hell of a time locating one and when I did, they were out. After riding for another hour, I found another Wal-Mart on the other side of the town and luckily they had one left. I called Wade and got directions to his house and was home free.
Wade had read my posts on ADVrider.com and offered me his garage and sleeping quarters which I desperately needed. After a couple glasses of wine, we got to work and replaced the old rack with the new one and mounted the solar panel that Debbi gave me on the right rear aluminum pannier. I stayed with wade for two nights and reorganized my gear, shifting the weight backward a little. Back while I was in Seattle, I had stopped at Touratech USA. Tom, the owner, was kind enough to supply me with a great Ortlieb dry bag which has made my life easier. No more garbage bag over my backpack for water proofing!
Another member of GSresources in the Portland area named Todd had offered his garage while I was still back in Prince George (BC, Canada), so I called him and met up with him in Beaverton. He took me out to lunch to a Hawaiian joint and I stuffed myself with kalua pig. Man that was good. He performed some surgery on the front forks to straighten the bend I had in them along with drilling another hole in my broken windshield and I was on my way. Todd is a canny navigator and all the directions he gave me were right on. Thanks to his gift, I found my way out of the wine country and toward the coast quickly but wetly.
The Oregon coast is a phenomenal place- 800 miles of sand and giant rocks coming out of the ocean, with little towns scattered all along the way. Speed limit is 55 at most and I don’t like it, but the scenery makes up for it. After Beaverton, I stayed with my CouchSurfing host Corrina in Otis for two nights. She was the only person in the area on the web site and I was lucky to be her guest. A non-profit environmentalist, she lives in a cute house nestled in the woods of the country side with 13 chickens and a cool cat. She made a killer dinner of fish and pasta with fresh vegetables and I devoured a whole skillet of it.
The next evening I worked with the Lincoln City Food Pantry to get more familiar with the food bank system in Oregon. My impression was mixed as it was very much like the other food banks I’ve visited and volunteered for: it lacked an educational infrastructure.
With shelves full of food, it is sad to witness people coming in and stocking up on unhealthy garbage while passing up the fresh produce that was also offered. There was only one lady who picked up an apple in the 3 hours that I was there and I had to take a picture of it. Feeding without providing education is wasting resources. As simple as that. Food education is something we are lacking and there has not been a serious attempt to make it a reality. Let’s try cooking sessions in churches one Sunday out of the month. I’m sure God would be fine with that.
In the year 2009, the obesity rate finally caught up to the hunger figures. According to United Nations, there are 1.1 billion people worldwide who are suffering from hunger and that exact number holds true for obesity. Of course there is “no relationship whatsoever” between these two phenomena and you would be labeled a communist if you ever tried to make one.
In our own country, we have an obesity rate of over 30%! That means that out of every 3 people, one weighs as much as the other two, and what do we do? We switch to Diet-Coke instead of the regular Coke! These are the two ends of the same spectrum of poverty. Have you ever wondered why George Clooney doesn’t weigh 400lbs but the guy in the trailer park down the road does? Education and healthy diet is the answer. When you are on food stamps, you don’t pick the healthiest food, you pick the most filling one.
Sometimes I think that human race is not as evolved as other species. We care more about our lawns and Halloween costumes than we care about our neighbors. I read an article on vampire bats not long ago that made me shiver. Vampire bats, which primarily feed on the blood of mammals and birds, must obtain a blood meal at least every 3 days or face starvation. On a given night, there are individual bats that do not successfully feed. Fortunately for them, those who do get their share of blood, regurgitate some of their meal to feed the unsuccessful ones. This behavior has evolved over time, and the bats have developed a level of recognition to where they will refuse to regurgitate blood to feed those bats who have not participated in food sharing in the past.
With our IPods and million mega pixel cameras, with our triple over-head cam engines and Mars Rovers, we still don’t possess a decency of sharing our meals with those who need it desperately. It wouldn’t cost us much. Maybe if we didn’t buy another $18 stupid gadget that ends up in a box in our 19 door garage; maybe if we cooked a meal once in a while instead of stuffing our guts with shit shiny Chinese food from a buffet, or buying a 50 gallon drum of mustard from Costco, we could scramble up 20 bucks to feed a family of 4. And get them educated so they don’t have to eat fat and sugar when they do get to choose their food. Maybe I’m a visionary or maybe I’m just talking to my god damn self or maybe both. Perhaps that’s the problem.
This month is a month of giving. Spare that ugly orange walnut turkey that you put on the kitchen table to bring a “Holiday Feel” to your home; instead, bring joy and life to a family by giving them their very basic need: food. Scroll down and take a good look at what a “Mechanically Separated Turkey” (this was on the label, I didn’t make this up) looks like in a Food Share freezer, then compare it to what your Butterball will look like on Thanksgiving Day.
For the month of October, I’ve chosen a well-deserving and unique organization called “The Centro de Recuperacion Nutricional Infantil Bethania” in Jocotán, Guatemala. It is a private medical center that treats about 400 malnourished children each year. They are desperately underfunded and your donations are matter of life and death.
Children that are being treated in this facility are extremely malnourished. Antonio, the boy pictured on my donation page of this website, was the weight of a 6 month old baby although he was 3 years old at the time the picture was taken. Every recovery costs $900 per child; that’s in a nation where 75% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.
Please make a donation of any amount (think of it as a second turkey for thanksgiving dinner) and I will pitch in $2000 out of my own personal travel funds, even though it will make the expedition more challenging for me. Donations can be sent by check, cash, kisses, hugs and/or credit cards. Please visit the Donation Page for more information.
Let’s not be human for a while, let’s be vampire bats…(if you make a bumper sticker out of that, I want royalties :P)