Not to Be Sold or Exchanged

Label on USA bottle of oil

Yep, that’s what the label on the bottle of oil said, so should we buy it or not?  What would you do?

Here’s the entire context.  The local elementary school at Bokonzo participates in the UNICEF program that gives all the students a meal each day.  To do this the school has had to hire some cooks.  The food they prepare is from the World Food Program (WFP) with labels like these.  The school doesn’t have cash to pay the cooks so they pay them with oil and corn flour and maybe other stuff.  Some months ago one of the cooks came to our door and asked us if we could help her out and buy some of her oil.  She needed the money for medical care and other needs at home.  We gave her a fair price and bought the Russian oil.  Just recently she came back again this time with the USAID oil and its clear marking.  We bought that as well and we bought a little of the flour.

So what is the intent of the label and why did we agree to buy it?  We read the intent as follows:  the food is given by the US to the WFP which distributes it for their programs.  It is in fact distributed to those they intended to get it.  What they don’t want to happen is for the food coming into the country to be immediately sold in the markets and not get to its intended recipients.  I’m sure this has been a problem.  As we interpreted this, the cook received the food as payment for services.  She in turn wants to try to turn some of it into cash for other needs of her family and household.  So we bought it and didn’t think twice about it.  What would you do?

Label on oil from the Russian Feceration

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2 Responses to “Not to Be Sold or Exchanged”

  1. Lisa Zepeda says:

    I love this article Pete because it gives a great example of how things are not always “cut and dry”. It is great how you put the issue into context and because I love Africa it warms my heart. We pray that one day we will be able to come and visit you and Cindy!! Blessings for the day!

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  2. Sharon Seeberger says:

    I think you were right. “Selling” is a profession where one places a price on a good or service (or puts it out for best offer), places it in a marketable location (a store, a stand, a brochure, a website), and someone from that target market group chooses to buy it. Neither you nor your friend did that. What your friend did was give you a gift, and you gave her one in return. And of course you know that the reason she had the item was ethical and pure. And what you did helped insure that the Russian Federation’s gift was not in vain.

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