Name: Elaine Houlihan
Aiming for: Gold Award
Hunger? The feeling we have when we need to eat. Imagine having that feeling for the majority of the day and only getting one good meal a day? Would you be able to live like that?
From my experiences over in Bangalore, India this summer it has made me think twice at how lucky we really are here in Ireland to have access to nutritional food whenever we are feeling hungry there is nearly always something in the kitchen cabinets to eat. Unfortunately, in Bangalore for some families this wasn’t the case, it wasn’t the fact that India lacked in nutritional food it was indeed the fact that the families couldn’t afford the food to feed their children which was heart breaking to see.
As I spent a lot of time out in the community meeting and talking to the local people I have experienced situations where parents wanted to buy me food and make sure I had eating. I didn’t allow them to do this as if they were to spend their money on making sure I had eaten they would have had to go days without food which is heart breaking to no! Also from my experiences of speaking to the people I found out that some parents only send their children to school so that they would receive a meal in the school. Parents weren’t thinking about their children’s education but they were thinking of making sure they got fed. Why should parents have to think this way?
Speaking to some of the locals it was brought to my attention that most of the parents who cannot provide food for their children often go hungry themselves to ensure that their kids are fed. In certain case’s both the parents and children have to turn around and go begging in the evenings or weekends just to make a few rupees to try and buy some food. Which again is heart breaking to know as surely the Indian government could provide some sort of food supplement to these families to help them provide for their children. Surely “if we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger” – Buzz Aldrin.
Another thing that had me baffled and amazed at the same time was that every morning I was greeted by my fellow colleagues by them saying “morning Madame, have you had breakfast?” And even at lunch time the students would be rushing over to try and offer us their lunch’s when they didn’t see us eating while we were sitting outside in the garden.
I was starting to wonder why everyone was so worried that I wasn’t eating, it was just I usually had my lunch before all the students and some of the professionals as it suited the dinner ladies better. Then I found out that the reason why they kept asking me had I eaten which had me stuck for words to tell you the truth.
It was because they were aware that I wouldn’t be used to being hungry as I didn’t come from a poor country. So, they were willing to go hungry so I wouldn’t have to experience the feeling of hungry. I found it amazing that they were willing to do that for me as here in Ireland you would find yourself lucky to find somebody who would even consider doing this for you. But it isn’t right for them to do this for me, even though I came from a wealthy country to them doesn’t mean we aren’t the same, we are all humans and we have the same needs. Why does money have to be the predictor for everything including food?
In the words of Mother Teresa “if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”