Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hunger Week: Days 6 & 7

On this evening of the final day of Hunger Week, I realize that we have gotten used to being hungry. This morning I was hungry all morning. But it didn't bother me. I went about my work as usual. Then we ate maize-mush and lentils for lunch. As I was stirring the maize-mush in the pot, I noticed that the promise of eating had no control over me. 

By evening I was hungry, and I'm hungry still. If I think about food, I understand that eating would be pleasurable, and that my body would profit from it. But it has no hold over me. Eating or not eating is not something by which I will organize or evaluate these evening hours. I'm hungry, but so what? 

Hungry or not, life goes on. Being hungry becomes a way of life. Honestly, I can't remember what it's like to not feel hungry most of the time. If I wasn't writing about hunger right now, I don't know if I'd even be thinking about it. 

I'm not saying being hungry is nice, fun, or easy, or that being perpetually hungry is good or desirable. But what I am saying is that we've learned a little bit about how the Ik live day in and day out, month in and month out, well...hungry. They just do. It is possible to enjoy life, to delight in relationships, to work manually or mentally, all the while having an empty stomach more often than not. And that kind of bowls me over.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink...Is not life more important than food...?"---Jesus

As our Hunger Week draws to a close, we thank God that the Iks' Hunger Season is also drawing to a close. This very afternoon, World Vision delivered two truckloads of maize, sorghum, soybeans, cooking oil, and salt that people have earned over the last couple of months in 'food for work' projects. I tweeted on Twitter today that this is an 'unsustainable' solution to the hunger. But that's not totally fair. This wasn't just a free distribution to bale the people out of hunger. They actually worked for it. So, they bought it, just like we all buy food to survive on. The food they received today will get them through the following weeks until they start harvesting from their gardens in late summer. 

Thank you for reading, praying, empathizing, commiserating, and encouraging us this week. Thank God that he has provided 'daily bread' for us all, including the Ik, today. And pray that the Ik one day can feast on the Living Bread of their souls and spirits.

Until next Hunger Week (June 1-7, 2013)...

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