Friday, June 1, 2012

Hunger Week: Day 1

We have just completed Day 1 of our self-imposed Hunger Week, undertaken to build solidarity with our Ik neighbors who often do not have much to eat. As I should have expected, we'll probably learn as much or more about ourselves this week as we do about the Ik.

This morning, skipping breakfast, I was hungry. The actual will-power not to eat wasn't the problem. The problem was that I thought about the fact I wasn't eating all morning. It was the very lack of eating that was prominent in my consciousness. At some point I realized a key difference in our experimental experience of hunger and the involuntary hunger of the Ik: we have food we are choosing not to eat; they do not, generally speaking. 

We decided to make our one meal lunch instead of dinner, partly because it may be healthier and partly to know what it's like to eponuƙota kuk, that is, 'to go to bed hungry'. By lunch, my hunger had overtaken my mind such that I couldn't do much else but linger around the kitchen until Amber came back to make the beans. Hunger was driving me, just like it drives the Ik to walk down into Kenya in search of food. Honuƙotaa ɲeƙa roɓaa Burukaik: 'Hunger has driven people into Kenya'---a phrase we've heard often recently.

For lunch I ate a lot of maize-meal and beans...too much actually. But I kept thinking, this is the last food I'll get until lunch tomorrow. I need to stock up on calories. 

When the man came around this afternoon to ask for assistance against hunger, I had no problem getting him a bag of maize flour. It wasn't much, but it was worth a few meals. And I know what a good meal of maize is worth when you're hungry.

It's late evening, and we're approaching the moment of going to bed hungry. And I'm hungry. But wow, our evening was so long and empty. Three whole hours to read or do whatever. No cooking, no dishes, no digesting. Just a gaping hole of time we're entirely un-used to. I think we could get used to this...except for the fact that I'm starving.

That's Day 1.


3 comments:

Notinthewild said...

Got chills on those last lines. Thanks for sharing the revelations as they come.

The Reeds said...

Yes. Thanks so much for sharing. If I weren't nursing I think we would do this with you. Some day. We love you guys, and are praying for the Ik, Kj and turkana.

Lynette said...

Getting ready to eat my first meal after skipping food today . . . I often skip a meal or two, but the fact that I'm choosing not to really does lend itself to kind of an obsession with food. I feel soooo hungry, but really, my body can't be that hungry after only 24 hours. . . I'm a bit startled to realize what all food does for me besides nourish my body.