I woke up this morning feeling pretty motivated and mentally prepared to embark on the challenge. Remembering my awesome kids at Baph and the joy they inspired in me every time I saw their smiling faces, encouraged me to do this very very small act of love and solidarity towards them. I happily ate my morning bowl of “wanabe” pap but the last two spoonfuls were a hard swallow. I disregarded this and thought that as long as I felt full I would be fine. As the day progressed I found myself going towards the kitchen for a snack or a chocolate break, until I remembered I didn’t have that luxury. When we live such a spoiled life style we forget all the comforts that we have, even comfort foods. It was a sacrifice to walk away from the Halloween candy bucket or sit at the dinner table with a steaming bowl of grits while my mom enjoyed some crispy juicy chicken (even as I remember this my mouth has started to water). I ignored my craving and rushed off to the house of the kid I tutor.
While we were doing his math homework, he pulled out a chocolate chip cookie from his pocket and started munching on it. I stopped what I was doing and jumped on him while I reached out for the cookie before it hit his mouth… of course, this out of control impulsiveness only occurred in my head, but I was surprised that such thought would even come to mind.
When I got back home I was in a pretty cranky mood with a creeping headache. I confess I had to cheat and added milk and honey to my grits to add some sort of consistency. I have never been a fan of grits, it was the only part I didn’t eat of my Waffle House breakfast, so I was surprised that I thoroughly enjoyed pap with my meat in South Africa. Grits, however, cannot compare to pap but it is the closest thing we have to it in the U.S.
My family and friends are still having trouble comprehending why I am doing such an eccentric fast. Perhaps they do not see much value but personally these past 24 hours have provoked all sorts of feelings. It has brought back flashing memories of the babies in Baph with dried pap all over their face, of sissies stirring big aluminum pots of pap for dinner. It reminded me of those whose only meal is pap and they have to share their small portion with the younger siblings. If having three big bowls of grits three times a day makes me feel exasperated and dizzy, how would I feel if I cut that ration in half, subtract my car and comfy bed and added a whole lot of walking and survival mode?
I am grateful, so much more grateful, to be able to see my little brother reach out for a banana when he’s hungry. To know he can do that and does not have to feel a rumble in his stomach. I also feel so inspired and honored to be doing this minimal sacrifice with our fasting team. Some of them I have never met, but I share a special love for the kids back in Khayelitsha and a belief for a healthier life for all. From the emails I read today, I see we are all manifesting this belief in our own way and have agreed to come together in this shared consciousness. I was very pleased to read Ellie’s report of the donations made thus far, it definitely adds fire to our effort. But most importantly, this pap and porridge fast will feed our spirit to keep our cause alive regardless.
I have uploaded three videos on youtube from Freedom Day at Baph. You can search for them as CHOSA kids @ Baph (1), (2) and (3) or find them at the link below. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Alma Anides, San Diego, CA
CHOSA Alum, Baphumelele
Support Alma in her fast by pledging a donation to CHOSA at www.razoo.com/story/papandporridge!