How many times have I said “I’m hungry?” Countless. Every time I go for four or five hours between meals, it’s “I’m hungry,” or worse, “I’m starving.” But how many times have I actually been truly hungry? Zero. I was fortunate enough to be born into a society of abundance, into a family who can afford to eat daily, even three or more times a day.
My friends in Uganda, however, aren’t so fortunate. To look into those desolate brown eyes is to catch a glimpse of what hunger means. To see their bony limbs, their sunken faces, and their distended bellies is to realize that I have never been truly hungry. Cradling feather-light children in my arms, I begin to see that hunger is much more than the rumbling in my stomach when lunchtime rolls around.
This all became a reality to me back in January when I had the privilege of travelling to several different places in Africa, one of which was Ray of Hope Orphanage in Uganda, where I witnessed the raw, uncensored truth called hunger. But beyond the heartwrenching pain I saw and felt, I fell in love with the place. There is so much more there than hunger and sickness—there are my children, the tiny brown hands that cling to my skirt, the dusty footprints and fuzzy heads and sloppy kisses and sticky fingers. They’re just regular kids doing regular kid things and feeling regular kid feelings—the only difference is that these kids don’t always know where their next meal will come from, or when.
So I, along with a group of friends from my church, am getting ready to take on a challenge called the Thirty-Hour Famine. For thirty hours on November 11th and 12th, we are choosing to go without food to raise money and awareness for hunger in Uganda. We will begin to feel what it’s like to have a perpetually empty stomach, to go to bed hungry. And as we fast and deny ourselves the pleasure of food, I am asking you to do it with us.
Thirty hours. That’s all I ask. When your stomach demands food and you deprive it, think of those people for whom going hungry isn’t a choice. And pray for them.
Oh, P.S. if you want to read the details about my past experiences in Uganda, go here.