Hunger…

This is a thought for the day I wrote, with a few adjustments.

When was the last time you were really hungry? I imagine more than one of you are rolling your eyes and saying ‘Right now!!’ as you sprint to the kitchen, Olympic style, to grab the crunchy nut cornflake box off your spouse before they pour the last flakes into their bowl. I’ve been spending a lot more time around hungry people this past few months. During Ramadam my Muslim brothers and sisters fast from dawn to dusk. Shops close whilst they break their fast in the evening sitting cross legged, sharing food and drink together. My Coptic Christian brothers and sisters fast over 250 days per year. Think of a reason, lent, advent etc and they have an appointed fast. They don’t eat until 3.30 or 4 and then it’s only vegetables. Here in south Sudan my work colleagues fast at lunchtime…. Not because of religious reasons necessarily, but because they can’t afford it. It’s difficult to keep food fresh with a fridge on for only a few hours a day and because fruit and veg are only sold at night so I spend most lunchtimes fasting, partly because of embarrassment that I can afford to eat when no one else is and partly because of laziness to remember to buy a banana and apple the night before when the fruit sellers appear. (I’ve recently discovered a lady who saunters onto our work compound at around 8.30am with a bucket of beans on her head and these have latterly been incorporated into my work diet.) I have been reflecting on the feeling of hunger since I have experienced it more than I ever have over the past few months. The good book reminds us not to worry about what we will eat and drink which is a luxury for many of us but it also says food for the body not the body for food. I’ve thought more about nutrients and eating healthily and fuelling my body than ever before. These bodies we are given aren’t garbage bins but temples.

Nb this does not mean I have lost my penchant for chocolate or cheese (and know where to find both for a rare treat in Juba) but it’s helped me to be thankful for food, to appreciate hunger as a rare but helpful insight into the experience of many and to choose to refuel slightly more wisely and responsibly…

2 thoughts on “Hunger…

  1. You mentioned the lunch thing in a previous post. It challenged me because I immediately felt uncomfortable and worried for you that you are regularly missing your midday meal. It highlighted my comparative lack of interest in those who regularly go entire days without nourishment.

    • Indeed. It’s staggering. Watching people gnaw on stale bread knowing there are few other options (fruit is more expensive than home) is a constant challenge. I’m doing very well on the nutrition front, worry not.

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