It’s evening of Day Two, and despite this being my third year of fasting, I am shocked again at the effect that it has had on my body. Day One was tough, mostly because I was so hungry and still had to help prepare supper. Hunja (fast team member and my fiancé) and I also had a full day of running around doing last-minute wedding preparations, and the smell of every restaurant and carry-out place in Nairobi’s city centre had me reconsidering my commitment! The pap (called ugali here in Kenya) awaiting us upon our return home was hardly satisfying.
Needless to say, I went to sleep with my stomach growling. But strangely, I felt fine when I woke up, almost as if I had slept the hunger off. I started the day with a small bowl of porridge but a couple of hours later, the hunger pangs were hitting me worse than ever. Some pap for lunch didn’t make things any better. As I sit now, my head is light and I can’t move too fast without feeling a bit dizzy. I’m grateful that I’m on leave from work, so to some extent I can get away with having a complete lack of ability to concentrate.
In realizing how completely useless I feel tonight, though, my heart is broken as I think about the children who survive off of this kind of diet every day. How do they muster the energy to walk to school every morning, let alone listen and actively engage in learning all day? And more than that, if they don’t even have the nutrients necessary to be fully present in mind, how can their little bodies continue to grow and develop as they should?
I prayed last night that long after the fast is over, that I would remember not only the hunger I feel now but also the heartache. It is unimaginable to me that families actually live off of this diet. Eating my pap for lunch today, I looked at Hunja and said I would actually rather go hungry than keep on eating this dry and largely tasteless substance. (6 hours later, my feelings have changed and I am so ready for supper!) But seriously, to think that families somehow make this work is astounding, and it re-invigorates me in my role with CHOSA. I am so grateful to be part of an organization that is empowering communities to overcome poverty and to provide better lives for their children. With every moment remaining in this fast, when I get frustrated and want to give up, I will remember those children.
If you’d like to make a donation to CHOSA in sponsorship of my fast, please visit www.chosa.org/fast. Thank you!