Peer Review by Jeremy Houle (United States)

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By: water&pen

The burger before you has just come off of the grill and the juicy smells waft to your nose. You haven’t eaten a thing (besides a few pieces of chocolate and, maybe, a bag of chips) for five hours. You’ve been waiting for this moment since you woke up this morning—when you would finally sink your teeth into a good, ol’ fashioned cheeseburger. Colby Jack is melted over the patty, fresh tomatoes threaten to turn the bun pink, and crunchy lettuce adorns the creation…drawing it together in perfect harmony.
            Once more, your stomach rumbles (a deep, monstrous rumble of: FEED ME!), and you lift the burger to your mouth, take a satisfying bite, and close your eyes as the flavors mingle and melt upon your taste buds. 
            Unbeknownst to you, a somewhat (but entirely different) scene is happening across the globe.
            A child sits dragging her fingers through the dirt that layers the rocky ground, stomach gnawing at the emptiness that has settled there not for five hours, but five days.
            The sun beats down upon her spotty brown skin, adding to the painful pangs that seem to create holes in her bloated stomach.
            One thing, of course, must be made clear: her stomach is not bloated from overeating. Far from it. Quite the opposite, actually.
            This child suffers from Kwashiorkor which is, ultimately, a disease that occurs from malnutrition and the lack of certain vitamins. The effects are deadly.
            At any moment this child could fall into a coma and die.
            You see, this child lives in a nation that has been the object of civil unrest. War has been brewing, and the fact that there’s been a famine throughout the land doesn’t help.
            But it seems that maybe, just maybe, a form of relief is on the horizon.
            The rescue comes in the form of a little plastic-packaged paste called Plumpy’Nut. With a base of peanuts, the liquid paste is imbued with minerals, vitamins, milk, and oils that are essential to fighting severe acute malnutrition.
            There are many children sitting in the dust, just waiting for their turn.
            Soon this wrapped peanut butter medication is within the hands of the child.
            Words are printed across the package, but none of it makes sense. With lack of food also comes a lack of acquiring knowledge like reading and writing.
            After watching a few of the other children rip open their packets, the child tears into it, scoops up the gooey paste, and swallows it, hardly having time to relish the savory sweetness that has saved so many other lives like her own.
            No immediate change takes place. To beat Kwashiorkor, months of treatment through Plumpy’Nut are needed. More anticipated meals, at last.
            You could say that Plumpy’Nut is this child’s cheeseburger.
            But calling it such takes the meaning out of such a weighty issue, doesn’t it?
            No, perhaps Plumpy’Nut is not this child’s cheeseburger.
            It’s something much more important that should have been received much sooner.
            And the fact that it’s quite often locally produced, aids in saving more lives. 
            The pros of local production:
1.         Plumpy’Nut can reach malnourished children much quicker than if it was an imported product. (Sometimes an order placed can take up to three months to be received, which means countless lives might pass within this time).
2.         These factories secure jobs for those in the community, meaning these workers can support their families without fear that they too will need Plumpy’Nut to survive.
3.         Being locally produced will make it cheaper if economic opportunities are seized. –Currently it costs approximately $50 to supply a child with two months of Plumpy’Nut treatment. That price can be lowered to become more accessible to the dying. However, $50 is a trifling amount if it will save a life.
Obviously all of these statistics are vital—Plumpy’Nut has saved millions of lives that would have, otherwise, been lost to lack of nourishment.
As well-fed people who don’t usually go hungry for more than a few hours, it’s hard to imagine that this is a real life scenario for millions of people.
This fact makes us uncomfortable, doesn’t it? I know it makes me uncomfortable, and maybe it should.
            Now, I’m not hating on cheeseburgers. I love eating cheeseburgers. Mmm, cheesy gooey goodness on a homemade hamburger is one of my favorites. Shoot—it’s okay to look forward to a meal and to relish every single bite.
            It’s not, however, okay to ignore the suffering that happens all around us.
            Though these starving children might be halfway across the globe, that doesn’t make them any less human than us, does it?
            Do we not have inherent values within us that push us to have pity on these people? What if we were in their shoes? Actually, most of them don’t even have shoes. What if we were in their place? It’s something that’s incredibly difficult to imagine. In fact, it’s easier to ignore the plight of foodless humanity and pretend that everybody is just like us—full of food and content.
            Food is such an essential part of our daily life, but it’s also such an essential part that is missing from most lives.
            Most of us have bellies.
            But not from Kwashiorkor.

Peer Review

This really is a great piece, and part of what makes it amazing is how it ties in a light attitude with seriousness; anticipation with lack;

I admire that the tone that this piece has. It is light, but the light mood does not detract from the point. Hooking, but not just entertainment.

You did very well tying in hunger with education; without food, we cannot grow, either physically or mentally. Growth is essential to survival.

If you expanded a part, I think it should be the call to action- what you want the reader to do. It is clear, but it could be even clearer if you ended with a call to action.

Additionally, perhaps you could expand how PlumpyNut is distributed. Is it volunteer run? Can I contribute? Is it a company, like Coke? Can I help start a distribution? Is it non-profit?

Anticipation. The description of the burger makes me anticipate having one.
Where else is there anticipation? Who is it?
How can I help someone whose anticipation goes unfulfilled?

This is really great, and you did very well keeping the point clear, yet not boring the reader or giving them a bad mood or feeling at the end, which can happen when talking about such a weighty subject. You are very good at keeping things enjoyable, yet profitable. Light, but deep.

Reviewer Comments

Great job! I visited the link, but was disappointed that it went to more of a press release type site. Does PlumpyNut have it's own?