[05/12/16] Yesterday I had one of the most exhausting yet incredible experiences in my life, dare I say.
Hm.. so I’ve been away for nearly one month (sorry guys.. AP bio stole all my attention D: ).. and I’m sure with this being a food blog, a restaurant review would be much more anticipated. However, I’m gonna talk about the polar opposite today- hunger.
1 in 9 people on earth are hungry. I can say with assurance that anyone reading this is one of the lucky 8, as I am. Having met all our basic needs- food, water, shelter- we never really experienced the struggles that much of the world, 795 million others, find means to overcome everyday.
My best frand Tray is an executive of our school’s LEO Club, and she introduced me to the 30 Hour Famine that they have in collaboration of other highschools in the district every year. Although I’m not an official member of the club this year, I became interested in this fundraiser as I learned more about the cause. All our proceeds go to HOPE International Development Agency, for their efforts to improve the state of food and agriculture in Ethiopia. **A little side note- prior to the famine, I was already very fond of this organization for the work they do. I’ve been given the valuable opportunity to attend their annual dinner & film premiere for 2 years now- you can read about my experience from last year here, and I shall get caught up on this year’s dinner ASAP. 😛
Currently, Ethiopia is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. Over 44% of the population lives below poverty line ($1.25 USD/ day), but a family can be freed from poverty with as little as $40. Our objective this year is to help Ethiopian families become self-reliant by spreading awareness and raising money, through a day of fasting and learning.
What We Accomplished.
Given short notice, I was admittedly quite unhopeful at the beginning. I received the pledge form the weekend before, with less than a week to collect donations.. and I distinctively remember doubting and questioning what an awkward girl like me can accomplish. Pulling out the minimum $25 donation from my own wallet was already a no-brainer backup plan.
But then I turned to God and asked for Him to stir up compassion in my heart, to help me break out of my shell, and awaken the generosity in those around me. I ended up having the courage to give it my all and ask basically everyone I came across- friends, family, family friends, friends of friends. (Sorry if I kept asking you, I didn’t exactly keep track of who I already asked and we all know about my short-term memory, yes? xD) Sure, I was rejected a handful of times, but I was mostly overwhelmed by all the kindness and the willingness shown.
In the end, I raised not $25, but $252. While that may not be the most impressive amount of donation in comparison to other generous donors, it’s definitely the biggest amount I’ve raised as an individual. In total, the LEO Clubs raised $1241.35 (not too sure about the decimals though :P), and that saves 31 families from living in poverty, helping them thrive and become self-reliant. It’s truly incredible how big of an impact we can make as a team, and it all starts with you.
How I Felt. & What I Received.
The famine happened yesterday afternoon, Thursday May 12th. After class ended on Thursday, our school team lugged our backpacks and sleeping bags over to the host school. A couple of really random but more or less fun activities, and some presentations were planned out for the night, but we had mostly free time. My 30 hour famine squad and I were just distracting our hunger by playing 21, never have I ever, having deep talks about life.. but it wasn’t long till we fell asleep at around 10pm. We were all clearly low energy with the lack of glucose in our bloodstream.
It was a 30 hour fast, and all participating students attempted to abstain from solid food. Personally, I did a water fast. I started on Wednesday night after dinner (a delish homemade BBQ. *O*), which was probably around 9-10ish, and I broke the fast this morning at around 6:30 for breaky before I ran (physically. literally.) for the bus to attend a conference at UBC. (StemCellsTalk Symposium if you’re wondering, and unfortunately, I missed the bus.) That comes down to about 33 hours sans food.
Initially, I expected a hollow, growling, possibly cramping stomach. But the hunger pangs went away periodically and was replaced by sleepiness until the evening, when I was completely taken over by fatigue and lightheadedness. It’s different for everyone because my two friends were very hungry and Tray even had stomach pain. Regardless, it was definitely uncomfortable for everyone, and I’m so proud of everyone for fighting it through!
As for me, I fuelled on the strength He gave me and my physical weakness was a reminder of my deep need for Him. At the same time, the thought of how much more devastating the situation is for the underprivileged, famished population pushed me through.
One thing that the sponsor teacher said that I found very interesting was the fact that doing this annual famine, we may be hungry but all of us know that once we wake up the next morning, we would be able to eat again. On the other hand, those suffering in the real famine go on day and day in starvation, not knowing when their next meal is. Let us be reminded of the sufferings of others, and lend a helping hand.
Giving to other in need doesn’t equal a loss in what we own- we only receive more.
I am so blessed, and too often, I’ve taken what I have for granted.. but this project rekindled my gratitude, a giving heart, and hope for a difference we can make together.
To learn more about HOPE: http://hope-international.com
I encourage everyone to learn more about the conditions of developing countries like Ethiopia and if it’s within your ability, make a donation. I want to emphasize (again) that it is not the precise amount of dollars that matters, but the heart you put into helping others.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who supported and/ or sponsored me. You are all seriously amazing! (((:
I also have some exciting, kinda nervewracking new to share regarding my blog in the next couple of months.. But for now, I’m wish you all a blissful weekend ahead!