I eat so much. Every day. It’s strange: I think about food so much, and at the same time–I take it for granted. It’s always there, always available. In all of my now long(ish) life, I’ve never had to worry about food. Even when growing up in Mexico, where it was only my Mom with six children and a relatively low income, I never once worried about my next meal. On the contrary, I remember great meals: meats, rice and beans, tortillas, all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
I don’t think I really thought about hunger in any significant way until I started going to the Darfuri refugee camps in Eastern Chad in 2005. Just about everyone I met there had experienced hunger first hand. Many had seen friends and family die from hunger and lack of water, as they walked across the desert escaping the destruction of their village.
I’m now thinking of hunger. I’m hungry, and it’s ridiculous. It’s only noon on day 1 of the 3 days I will be fasting. But I’m so used to just reaching for food at any time! Usually, soon after breakfast, we start to talk about what lunch might be…and then dinner. Plus there’s always snacks in-between, and a late-night one at the end!
It’s now 10 years since the Darfur crisis exploded. The “lucky” Darfuris made it to internally displaced persons (IDP) or refugee camps, where they live off of handouts. Malnutrition can be seen, brightly, on the children in the camps. The orange hair is a clear sign of it. I am hungry right now and will be hungrier the next couple of days, but I know I have food, and more importantly, I know that my children will never worry about whether their next meal will be there or not.
OK, more water for now. At midnight of day 3, I’ll have some good food in front of me. I’m already thinking of what that meal might be.
PS. Join me and many others during the 100 Day Fast for Darfur. Sign up here!