Saturday, February 21, 2009

Field Diets...

In Darfur we had something called ‘Darfur Diet’ and we joked about how it would be great to bill Darfur as a kind of ‘fat camp’ where people could come and lose tons of weight by…well, mostly by going hungry. The same is true in Southern Sudan but only more so. The humanitarian nutritional indicators are abysmal. I would tell you what they are but the half of you who would know what they mean don’t care and the half of you that care wouldn’t have a clue what they mean. They’re bad, take my word for it. People still starve to death. And not people, like that giant mass, out there, somewhere people, like our neighbours. Our health team saw twins today that are living about a stone’s throw from where I’m sitting. It’s likely they’ll starve to death within the week. They won’t starve to death because of a lack of food (just like having money doesn’t solve poverty) rather they'll starve for a whole host of horrid other complex reasons that have to do with culture, and health, and acceptance, and poverty. Like most things in life the outcomes are not the result of a singular act but whole string of knots that can’t be unraveled in a week’s time by a bunch of foreigners to in time to keep death at bay.

So, in this context, it’s pretty difficult to complain about food without feeling like a whiny spoiled brat. (But will I let that stop me? No!) We have enough food in all of our compounds every day to stay alive. Not enough diversity to remain healthy but enough to keep living which is just one of the things that separates us from those on the other side of our fence.

I thought I would map for you what I’ve been eating over the past few days:


Breakfast: Two pieces of white toast / coffee

Lunch: Coke / lentils

Dinner: Mashed potatoes


Breakfast: ½ a white bread roll / coffee

Lunch: Bowl of fruit’n’fibre cereal

Dinner: 2 eggs and a white bread roll


Breakfast: ½ a white bread roll / coffee

Lunch: Bowl of fruit’n’fibre cereal

Dinner: Goat pieces and ½ a white bread roll


Breakfast: Bowl of fruit’n’fibre cereal / coffee

Lunch: Rice & beans; bowl of fruit’n’fibre cereal; skittles

Dinner: Goat

I was trying to think about my feelings about the food but mostly...I just feel hungry.


amazedlife said...

You have POTATOES? Man, I would have given anything for a potato when I was in Southern Sudan. I would have given anything for lentils, frankly. Ergh, goat. If you are getting care packages, some oatmeal packets and flavored creamer can make all the difference, in attitude if not actual variety :).

David Cuthbert said...

It's strange, but something as important as food becomes a very abstract concept when I try to frame it in the context of humanitarian aid.

I just had lunch, where I got to pick the kind of sandwich and what condiments it had. When I think of Darfur and seeing your meal list, I think of calories and giant sacks of wheat and grains.

But, yes, your meals do strike me as having horribly insufficient caloric intake (to say nothing of minerals and nutrients). What do others in and around the compound eat?