Student heads overseas to fight food crisis

May 29, 2008 11:57:07 PM PDT
The World Bank is donating $1.2 billion to fight the global food crisis. This, as rising food prices spark protests in African nations and in Haiti.

The sharp rise in food prices has sparked riots in Haiti or in Egypt. In South Africa, there are protests in the streets.

They're average people who can't afford the basics anymore. The price for wheat shot up 83 percent in the past year.

Stanford Professor Emeritus Wally Falcon says the food crisis is created by emerging countries by using crops for bio-fuel.

He doesn't think the World Bank's newly announced donation will do much good.

"It's a short run band aid and it will be helpful in the short run. But it isn't going to go far or solve the longer run problems," said Falcon.

Mariana Beardsworth is going to try. She joined the Peace Corp and is going to Benin, Africa, to be a health and nutrition volunteer.

"There's been riots in a lot of the capitals and neighboring cities," said Beardsworth.

Violence because of a food crisis wasn't something the 22-year-old considered when she signed up in October.

"I think it's going to be really challenging to see people suffering so much, and at the same time I know that I have this safety net of my American passport and the Peace Corp that would keep me from suffering too badly while everyone around you does," said Beardsworth.

At the Peace Corp event, Mariana hears stories from other volunteers. But none have worked through a crisis like this.

"Reading about it and experience it are so different," said Beardsworth.

Mariana will live in rural area, where the focus will be on agriculture, developing farm lands and self reliance. They're long term goals that are expected to last well beyond her two-year assignment.


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