For Congo Children, Food Today Means None Tomorrow

Published on 03 January 2012

On some days, some children eat, others do not. On other days, all the children eat, and the adults do not. Or vice versa. (..) Délestage is universally used in French-speaking Africa to describe these state-decreed power cutoffs, but when applied to rationing food it illustrates a stark survival calculus, one the head of a household must painfully impose on the rest. (..) The food délestage is not new in Congo, a country rich in minerals and verdant landscapes yet also one of the hungriest on earth, according to experts. Foreign donors finance “all agricultural projects,” Dr. Eric Tollens said, and “massive amounts of food” are imported in this rich land, so food is expensive.

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