Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts on an Empty Stomach

Yesterday, we participated on Compassion International’s One Meal-One Day event.


When I woke up in the morning, I had a cup of coffee and reflected on the day and experience to come. I am not really a breakfast eater, so while my girls had something to eat first thing in the morning, I started the day with over 9 hours without food already under my belt.

8:30am – Kaya and Luna seem excited to see how long they can go without food today and, admittedly, I am curious as to how the day will play out. Our plan is to skip mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks and also lunch. Dinner will be a very basic rice and beans dish. I chose that dinner specifically for the connection to many of our sponsor children.

11:00am – My stomach is starting to growl a bit and I wish that I had chosen to have a little something to eat this morning with my girls. While watching a documentary, Luna stated that she had tried hard but wanted to eat and that she was very hungry.  This experience was never something I would force, so she had some graham crackers. Recently she has been going through some kind of growth spurt and has been eating so frequently.  It makes me wonder how children in the developing world get through their growth spurts during those times when their bodies require even more calories. I think of the heartache a mother must feel when there simply isn’t food available to give to hungry children.

Kaya says she is a little hungry but she has been busy working on a Science Fair display board and says that she thinks that keeping busy helps keep her mind off of her growling stomach.

12:10pm – I’m struck by the number of food related posts on Facebook and how each one tempts me when I am hungry. Over 11 hours without eating and post showing a picture of a hamburger and french fries causes me to stop and drool. Ironic, seeing as I am a vegetarian.

12:30pm – Jay comes home from work to have his lunch. It is hard to sit and have a conversation with him while he is eating.

I realize that I have a slight headache creeping in and am also noticing that I am having a harder time concentrating. My head seems sort of foggy. I drink a big bottle of water and think of how blessed I am to have access to it!

2:00pm – It is time to walk to the mailbox and I feel the physical effects of going over 15 hours without food. It is hard for me to tell if what I am feeling is psychosomatic or not, but I feel an ache in my arms and legs and my energy is very low. I wonder how people in various countries deal with hard physical labor and tasks like carrying big buckets of water for long distances while feeling the effects of chronic hunger.

At this point, it is hard to keep my thoughts from drifting to food.

Several times now, I have reminded Kaya that she is free to eat, but she is determined to wait until dinner to break her fasting.  While she told me that she is very hungry, she says that she hasn’t felt the physical symptoms that I have. I am proud of her for going over six hours so far!

3:00pm – While sitting at the computer, I catch a glimpse of something next to me that looks like a big bug scooting by.  I honestly think that I might have just hallucinated because after moving everything around me, there is no bug to be found. I search for a few minutes and then give up, wondering if the fogginess of my head could cause me to see something that wasn’t truly there.

About ten minutes later, I realize I wasn’t hallucinating when a giant spider made another appearance on my counter. I am relived that I wasn’t “seeing things”.

4:00pm – The end of our One Meal-One day experience is near and I decide to interview our Kaya to see what she thought about it all.

Towards the end of the video, when she mentioned how people live like that every day, tears came to her eyes. Kaya’s always been such a sensitive soul and I just know that one day she will take that deep sense of compassion and do great things in this world!

4:30pm – Dinner is started a little early and rice and beans have never smelled so good! Kaya had several servings and remarked on how good it tasted.

We are truly blessed that, for us, this was simply an experience we chose to do, not something borne out of necessity. I cannot imagine hunger as a daily reality.  The physical and emotional toll it takes on a person is crippling, no doubt.

I gained a bit of perspective and am inspired by Kaya’s suggestion that we do something like this on a monthly basis. Our small sacrifice and donation to Compassion’s supplimental food fund can make an impact in the life of a child.

Did you participate in One Meal-One Day? I would love to hear how it went for you.  If you did not get a chance to make your donation to Compassion’s fund yet, you can feel free to hop over to their secure giving site and do so at anytime.