"When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake."

— P.D. Ouspensky

Who We AreWhat We DoOur VenturesWhere We WorkOur ImpactOur InsightsMore

Posts Tagged ‘food’

The BBQ and a Global Loaf of Bread

Monday, May 4, 2009

I went to a friends’ BBQ on Day 5 of my water fast. Though I am a vegetarian, the scent of the smoking turkey and grilling sausages was almost overwhelming. My friends were so kind and asked wonderful questions about my fast and the situation in Darfur. One teacher asked me about how she could bring this situation into her 5th grade classroom, albeit she did not have enough time in the semester to do an entire course on the Darfur crisis. I shared an interactive exercise that I experienced in a workshop once: Each member of the group was given a small piece of paper with an A, B or C on it and asked to divide up accordingly. The largest group was C and was told to sit on the floor on a mat. The second largest group was B and was given some benches or chairs to sit on with a cloth spread between them. The smallest group was A (about 10% of the group) and was invited to sit at a beautifully set dining table with candles, plates and silverware. Next, the moderator brought out one loaf of freshly baked bread. She tore off small bite-sized pieces and gave them to each person in group C. Then she tore off slightly larger chunks and shared them with the members of group B. About 2/3 of the loaf was still left, which she placed on a bread board next to a plate of brie cheese and invited group A to serve themselves. She then asked us to eat in silence. As the A group looked around at the C group, sitting on the floor savoring their tiny pieces, their discomfort turned to tears. The moderator explained that this represented the current allocation of food resources on the planet, and as Americans we were all sitting at the dining table each night.

I’m considering ending my water fast on Sunday (Day 6) and switching to refugee rations for the remainder of Mia’s 21 days. I feel really strongly that I need to understand what the Darfuris are given to eat (that is when they had monthly food rations) by experiencing the rations myself. Too often we sit at the dinner table with our portion of the global bread loaf with such a disconnect to what living in group C is actually like. I have always had a major issue with the black-tie galas and big fancy events that NGOs throw to raise money – where the patrons dine, drink, party and forget even further the lives of those they are there to help. Though I understand the need to invest in such events, and though I admit abstaining from such events has not served our operating budget so well, I still endeavor to find a way to break down that disconnect between Americans and those in greatest need (while generating support for our work with genocide survivors). And so, that is why this fast is so powerful to me. I hope in some small way I can bring a new level of awareness to others so that one day we can all gather together at the global table and share equitably the planet’s resources.

Feasting and Fasting

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Well, having friends to dinner on Day 3 of my water fast went surprisingly well. I was genuinely excited about the menu we’d prepared and they were curious and completely understanding. My husband cooked a roast chicken and the house smelled like Thanksgiving. I joined them at the table with a big bowl of water with a bit of vegetable bullion mixed in (34 calories). Though I would have sincerely enjoyed partaking in the steamed asparagus and wild rice, instead we spoke of what was happening in Darfur and one of my guests’ recent visit to Ethiopia, which is no stranger to famine.

I also emailed 5000 people on Global Grassroots’ contact list about the fast and was so grateful for some very beautiful responses, including one from a dear friend who has decided to start her fast on Sunday. She has a toddler and has been discussing with her husband how best to explain to him their fast. I shared that I have a family member living with me at the moment, whose beautiful mother passed away recently from complications related to anorexia. I felt it important to discuss with her why I was doing this and how a fast was different from anorexia. I tried to explain that a fast isn’t an effort to deprive our bodies or control our weight out an intense fear of becoming fat or very low self-esteem and deep feelings of unattractiveness. It is instead a deeply spiritual act, driven by a desire to contemplate what we have and what others may not have and feel a greater connection with those who are suffering. Often a personal act of sacrifice to take time away from the schedules of mindless consumption and better understand our relationship to food.

And even still, it is worth bearing in mind the challenges we have with food in this country, from anorexia and bulimia to obesity. Why do we play out our attachments and aversions to self and our life through the act of eating or not eating?


GlobalGiving vetted Organization 2016

Global Grassroots
1950 Lafayette Road, Suite 200, Box 1  |  Portsmouth, NH 03801 USA
Tel (+1) 603.643.0400  |  info@globalgrassroots.org

Contact Us    Facebook    Twitter    You Tube    Global Giving

© 2018 Global Grassroots 501(c)(3) Non-Profit