Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Serving in Kibera Slum, I witnessed the joy and delight in children as they eat their one meal, rice meal provided by Feed The Hungry, as Make May Matter arrived, I felt challenged to identify with them through participation in the Meagre Meal Challenge. I wanted to deepen my understanding and enlarge the capacity of my heart for these children and others like them whose lives are only possible because of the rice meal they receive at school each day. So alongside the meagre meal, I committed to walk 1-2 hours daily, the distance many walk just to attend school. Whilst walking, I prayed for them and for many of the harrowing circumstances and needs that are all to real.
Eating oats for breakfast is standard for many people, but made with water and without adding the delicious toppings leaves them devoid of taste to me, and in it I’m reminded that we eat to live, not live to eat! I used the one meal ingredients to make a Dahl and each day used the rice allowance with a few greens. I enjoy rice and dahl, so managed this fairly well. I noticed how much I looked forward to the meal, and to cabbage savouring each bite. I hadn’t eaten cabbage regularly for many years, certainly not boiled in water, and was surprised by how tasty and luxurious it felt to have it on my plate. To only eat this meal each evening, though, became more challenging throughout the week.
I was aware how much comfort I gain not only from the food I eat, but from drinks, as restricted to water and herbs, I had either cold water with mint, or made it into a hot tea drink. I missed going to a cafe for a latte, something in a regular week I would consider more a basic need, as many in the UK today do. The Meagre Meal Challenge reminded me to be thankful for the wealth of food we have to choose from, and challenged me to choose to eat to live, to say no to the ‘head hunger’ for sugary and high fat foods and drinks.
Food in the western world is strongly linked to mood, emotions, and throughout this time, I definitely experienced ‘a disconnect’ as I embraced this different perspective. It raises questions about our motivations for eating, feeling anxious or worried? upset or angry? self-pity? even celebration? How would you celebrate a significant life event without food? I encourage everyone to take this challenge and to take time to honestly reflect with an openness to re-align desires for food to the place where we eat to live, rather than live to eat.
Find out more about Make May Matter and the Meagre Meals challenge, please visit: www.fth.org.uk/mmm