It is Saturday and, by the time today is over I will have been on the diet for a whole week!
Thursday was a bad day for me. I had to cancel my plans for the morning because I was just too weak to feel it would be sensible to drive. I had a hideous headache and a hole, the size of Texas, in my tummy.
Yesterday morning I was up early to meet the farrier so we could shoe the horses before the, forecast high of 106 arrived. Of course, I could resist discussing my diet, slaves and street children with him. Given that he was in a ‘sneaky’ part of the military before taking to his new career he was largely unimpressed by the fact that I was starving, apparently they are taught which bugs they can eat, but very impressed with the reason I was on the diet. We discussed his time in Mombasa, Kenya, when he had been at a loss as to what to do when he had to step over a dying emaciated man in the street. Also, we talked about the poor, enslaved prostitutes of Thailand, who were the objects of many of his shipmates’ attentions.
He gave me a new perspective on watching others, notably my wonderful, long-suffering daughter and husband, eat. He pointed out that my enslaved farmer would know that his masters were eating lavishly and probably wasting the fruits of his labours. So, he encouraged me, eat their leftovers and what you can scrape out of the pans. Unfortunately for me they are so well brought up to know that waste food is sinful that there are never leftovers which aren’t eaten another day but I will investigate the pans. Also, we compost all our biodegradable waste so that isn’t really a source for me to tap. I believe that would be what is done in India too; you can’t have new vegetables without improving the soil.
Do I feel that hungry – yes – it used to be at night and in the morning, now it is constant? But I think I am getting better at enduring it. Yesterday I sat down to a supper of lentils, tomatoes and peppers with equanimity, whilst my family ate lasagne.
What have I learned in the past two days?
a. Being a self-confessed foodie who often plans trips at home and abroad around restaurants I have read I cannot imagine living on this diet all my life. Never to enjoy the sound of bacon sizzling, never to have your taste buds stimulated by combinations of delicate flavours (goats cheese brie fried and served with toasted pine nuts, raisins, lavender and honey springs to mind – sampled on a very food centred trip to Barcelona!), never to be delighted by the sight of fine food beautifully presented on a plate, never to smell Mum’s roast beef cooking and have the expectation of Yorkshire puddings and gravy and never to touch the icing on a chocolate sheet cake. I could go on with the 'nevers' but it will make me hungry!
b. That slave farmers have it better than street kids. I do not say this in any way to suggest that I think slavery is a good thing – IT IS NOT – but at least they do have food. If you are a street kid you have no expectation of food and source of healthy, albeit starvation level food. You only have the garbage others discard.
c. That when you have eaten your allotted food that is it. No snacks just feeling hungry till the next meal
d. I can confirm that hunger causes extreme tiredness and a feeling of being faint much of the time.
Judy Westwater emailed me this morning to ask if I had started having out of body experiences. The answer is no and I am hoping not to get that far!
Until tomorrow when my family will be having roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for supper – at least I get the smell, sight, and have the knowledge that I will eat it again one day.
(Apologises to vegetarians, I am sure that you would have other food privations just as strongly in my shoes).
Free the Slaves, The Pegasus Children's Trust, The Consortium for Street Children - for direct links see previous posts.
Last, but by no means least, I would like to thank all at St. Edward's University for their support and amazing curriculum which means that not only will their graduates have a social conscience but also, will be educated about the problems and possible solutions.