26 Mar Rice & Beans Week 4: Solidarity
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Bearing the Weight of Hunger
Dotto and Kulwa are twin brothers, age 12, who live on their own in the city of Dodoma, Tanzania. I got to stay overnight with them and see what daily life is like for the kids that Lahash serves.
I knew that many kids in East Africa struggle with hunger, but my time with Dotto and Kulwa let me feel how heavy that burden really is. These orphaned boys used to live on the streets, collecting and selling empty bottles to survive. A compassionate couple had temporarily taken them in, but even without the boys they could barely provide for their own needs. On the night of my stay, there was no food in the house. We sat together and talked until the sun went down, and then we all went to sleep hungry. There was no breakfast in the morning. My heart broke as the boys put on their uniforms and headed to school with empty stomachs.
Often when I see others’ burdens, my first response is to try and remove them, not carry them. I want their lives to be more like mine, not the other way around. But I learned something about solidarity that day that I’ll never forget. True solidarity changes my life, too, not just theirs. I could have pulled out my wallet, gone to the nearest shop, and bought us all something to eat. But this verse isn’t talking about charity, it’s talking about solidarity. It’s not about removing burdens. It’s about receiving them. And as the weight shifts to lighten the load on our brother’s shoulder, we find that it digs into our own. In this, we follow the example of Jesus himself, who stooped down to bear the burden that was crushing each of us.
I love that this Rice & Beans experience allows me to sacrificially give, and sacrificially receive. During Lent, my daily life is different because of Dotto and Kulwa. The change is so real I can taste it. I’m sure you can, too, as you choose to eat less so that they can eat more. Let’s continue together, eating in solidarity and bearing the burden of hunger alongside vulnerable kids.
Casey Schilperoort, Media Director
Lahash International in Portland, Oregon
East Africa Connection
Eating rice and beans is a purposeful change we make in our own lives that connects us to hungry kids. Watch the short video “Thank You From Joseph” at eatriceandbeans.com/video. Notice his near-giddiness at being able to eat more than once a day!
March 27-April 1
Standing in solidarity with the vulnerable will not only change their lives, but ours as well. Bearing another’s burdens is uncomfortable and not a quick fix. This may be exactly why God calls us to do it.
Reflect on the daily reading, closing with the prayer below
Monday: Ruth 1:1-22
Tuesday: Job 2:11-13
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Thursday: Luke 10:25-37
Friday: Romans 12:9-16
Saturday: II Corinthians 1:3-7
God, we cannot bear each other’s burdens without your strength. We can offer nothing to anyone, except what we have received from you. Empower us to persevere in this holy calling. Use us to help others experience your goodness, and transform us all by your love. Amen