The 40 hour Famine – say it quick and it will be fine. My son and I recently took part in this fundraiser as a great way not only to raise funds for a needy cause, but also to raise awareness of hunger and poverty.
For 40 hours over the weekend we gave up food, my teenage son also gave up his bed and slept on the floor and he also gave up his phone for the duration of the 40 hours. I had done this famine before in years gone by, but this year I really concentrated on the feeling of hunger and how my body responded, I wanted to get the most from this experience, as did my son. We were going along okay until about 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon – I started to experience a slight headache and I noticed that my patience was wavering. At around 6 o’clock I still had to prepare a semi reasonable meal for my two younger children – this was nothing fancy and I didn’t allow them to have dessert; although they were too young to participate in the 40 hours, they could still go without something.
Trying to get to sleep that night was interesting, my headache had increased and the feeling of complete emptiness in my stomach was rearing its head more than ever. I sat with the feeling and I tried to put myself in the situation of a starving child, how often do these children go to sleep with this feeling of emptiness? It does not make for a very high quality of sleep. How often do parents starve so their children can have a few scraps of rotten food to eat?
The next morning we were supposed to participate in a community fun run – it took so much energy just to get out of bed, showered and put on a half normal front that there was no way I was going for a run with thousands of other people! I did have to take the dog for a walk, our normal walk takes about thirty minutes, this morning, it took us forty minutes. My body had begun to slow down and was trying to reserve as much energy as possible in case of a fight or flight situation; this is the body’s natural response to threat. I put myself back in the shoes of those starving children and parents, where do they get the energy to find food or to walk for days for clean water? I know we were really starting to feel lethargic and quite unresponsive.
The final half an hour saw us take to our beds – our bodies could not work productively anymore. When it came time to eat my son smashed down a particularly large roll filled with all sorts of vegetables, I however, just eased back into it, again I wanted to experience the whole sensation. I had a handful of crackers with some dip and I was satisfied.
Lessons we learnt:
I would highly recommend participating in this event next year, not just for the money raised, but for the awareness it brings personally.