Friday, August 20, 2010

Thanks for all the rice

If you were in my Teaching Showcase talk today, about grading rubrics and have read the handouts, or know me at all, you will recognise the corruption of my title from "thanks for all the fish" (the inimitable Douglas Adams).

So why start with thanks? I have now been on this diet for 10 days. My dear friend Betty helped alleviate the boredom by giving me brown basmati rice. On a more serious note I realise that the rice I have been eating, whilst organic and as fair trade as possible, has probably been produced by hand growing and hand harvesting.

Certainly the tomatoes, onions, okra and peppers in our garden have been produced by the hard labour of my husband who was in the garden, sweating like a pig, digging in compost at 6.30am this morning.

A new lesson learned : food production is hard labour and we should be doubly thankful to those who produce it. Of course, my father-in-law, knows this only too well - he has a mixed farm in Devon, UK (crops and sheep) but somehow, to my mind, not having machinery to help makes growing rice in India a more arduous task. I imagine he would agree with me having spent his childhood years turning hay by hand and riding a plough horse.

A second lesson learned is that I can live on much less than I thought. My Mum lived through rationing in World War II England. She has often told me stories of having a cup of sugar for a week etc. I couldn't think how one managed on rations but I haven't had sugar for 10days and I am really none the worse for it. Like us they had chickens and a garden; I have been truly blessed.

Yet another lesson - we didn't waste much food before but I cannot imagine wasting any in the future! I absented myself from the faculty lunches on Monday and Tuesday, I didn't want the temptation of leftovers and didn't want to see them wasted.

Now, confession time, yesterday I had a mint, Natalie in Brenda Vallance's office keeps them for visitors! Also, at the Humanities lunch at Cannoli Joe's I had a huge plate of vegetables (apparently that Italian restaurant doesn't think Italians eat rice; I had expected risotto at least!).

Tomorrow, is the last day of my suffering, but I am very tempted to go on. I have been cushioned from true hunger by the 'fat' I was carrying. I have lost 10lbs. I feel that, provided I don't get any fainter or weaker, I should go on. I will let you know what I decide...

In the meantime dates:

Tomorrow - 21st August at 15.00 ALLIES meet in TH 112 at St Edward's University. Please come.
5th October 2010 - 7pm Fleck Hall 305 St Edward's University - I will be talking about my experience of attending the United Nations discussions on the 2015 Poverty initiative.


Central Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking
Free the Slaves
Consortium for Street Children
The Pegasus Children's Trust
GEMS - this organisation rescues slaves (prostitutes) trafficked into the USA
Children of the Night - rescues child and adolescent prostitutes trafficked into and within the USA
Polaris - US joint agency - seeks to implement the laws against slavery and trafficking
The coalition of Immokalee Workers (slaves freed in the USA)

You may be interested to know that, in Texas, we are awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court about whether a mentally retarded child forced into prostitution by an older man should have her conviction for prostitution quashed.

Books by Kevin Bales "Modern Slavery - 27 million slaves" and "Disposable People" and "The Slave Next Door"

Books by Judy Westwater of the Pegasus Children's Trust "Street Kid" and "Nowhere to Run" Judy will be visiting St Edward's University between 18th and 25th October, there will be occasions for you to hear her talk.

You can buy gifts which are ethically made on the websites of Free The Slaves and The Consortium for Street Children.

If you are moved to do so - please donate.

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