Photo by Lucy Aulich, World Vision
My name is Asha, I’m 16 and this was my fourth year of doing the 40 Hour Famine. The last two years I have done something a bit different. I have done 40 days leading up to the 40 Hour Famine week end going without some of the normal luxuries of my day to day life.
I gave up a food component so I could experience to some degree the way many people in our world eat. I ate very basically for 40 days, I ate a mixture of fruit and veg and some grains and pulses along with water and herbal tea – I cut all confectionary foods along with dairy, meat and a few other things. I would have to think before everything I ate. By doing this I was (and still am) especially conscious of the privileged life I live and how easy it is for me to take for granted what I understand to be ‘normal’. I ate very basically for 40 days, I ate a mixture of fruit and veg and some grains and pulses along with water and herbal tea – I cut all confectionary foods along with dairy, meat and a few other things. I also gave up appearance enhancers like make-up and hair stylers as I feel these are things that I, among many other females in our society take for granted, although they are definitely not essential to our lives.
Of course over time I developed some intense cravings like milky tea with honey and cheese. I noticed that I was eating less therefore wasting less which is a practice I definitely wish to keep.
One funny story I have from the 40 days was about my Year 11 river cruise. A girl asked me if I was going and I said that I was. She seemed shocked and replied “But you can’t wear make-up?!” I nodded and said “uh yeah, I know”. She just stared at me and said, “And you’re still going?” It seemed like such a foreign and impossible thing to do – to go out in public without make-up. It made me realise how over-valued things like that are in our society.
Then came the 40 Hour Famine in August, I gave up food, technology, furniture and a house with one of my friends. I am proud to say that I think we smashed it! I found this year to be the most positive and enjoyable round of the 40 Hour Famine that I have ever done. On the Friday night at 7:30, we began. Upon starting we placed a ban on the words “I’m hungry,” this seemed to be the best decision and led to a very positive 40 hours. Although we were both hungry and at times lethargic and flat we kept ourselves busy and focused on other things. Instead of letting ourselves focus on the hunger and dribble over the thoughts of foods we wished to be eating (which we had done in previous years), we talked, we walked, we played, we made tie-dye shirts and jasmine flower wreaths, we went to the beach and slept in the sun.
This year of the 40 Hour Famine was the best for me, I rarely felt sick, grumpy or negative. We also discovered that not eating any barley sugars helped us, we think that they give you a quick hit of sugar and then drop you and so you have to keep eating them which makes you feel sick. We enjoyed a simple meal of coconut rice and Turkish bread with dip as our first meal. I was very happy to be eating again and I finally had my long craved bit of cheese and milky tea! We also shared a very impactful conversation about the state of our world, and I definitely finished with new passion to keep fighting for what I believe to be right.