Global Hunger Fast Day 3: The Spice of Life (or lack thereof)

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Life in the Philippines
Tags: , , , , , , ,
It’s only Day Three of the Global Hunger Fast, and already a generalization is starting to form: I’m almost always hungry now. Have we simply not been creative or industrious enough with our shopping, or is it just not possible for a person with my metabolism to be full on $2 a day? Sure, there are countries in the world where food would be even cheaper than here in the Philippines–but not many (rank by “grocery” column). Perhaps there’s some combination of beans, rice, and fish that would be both substantial and available for the pittance we’re working with, but we haven’t found it yet (beans don’t seem to be as cheap or easy to come by here as in other parts of the world).
And yet even if we did find it, this elusive goulash of sustenance, what then? We’d still be lacking what turns out to be another luxury, something that (as an American) I would’ve considered not a luxury, but an inalienable right: variety. Who cares if there are 30,000 products in the grocery store when the only ones you can afford are the ones on the bottom shelf? Oh wait, never mind: you’re not shopping at the grocery store anyway: you’re shopping at the palengke, the open-air wet/dry market where the lady may or may not be bothered to swish the flies off that fish that might be your dinner.

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For the Old American Me, eating was often an exciting venture into a carnival of carne, a midway of tastes and smells with an overwhelming number of fun rides to go on. But not for Global Hunger Fast Me. Oh no. Eating for Global Hunger Fast Me (to use a rich-person analogy) is like being forced to refuel your car at the gunpoint of your hunger–and wincing at the price of gas every time. As a poor person, chances are your food will be brown and white, and that it will either be the same thing you had for your previous meal, or the same thing you’ll have for your next one. To illustrate, though you’ve seen some pictures, here are our meals for the last three days:Sunday
breakfast: a few tiny oranges, eggs, toast
lunch: stir-fried vegetables and egg on rice
dinner: stir-fried vegetables and egg on riceMonday
breakfast: splitting a mango, an egg, rolls, and three small bananas (But hungry by 10:30 am).
lunch: sinigang–sour soup with a boiled fish head, and rice
dinner: fried fish tail, lentils (yes!), and rice

breakfast: eggs, 1 small dried fish, garlic rice (how they use the leftovers from the night before)
lunch: sour soup with a boiled fish head and rice
dinner: rice porridge with small bits of chicken

Notice a few recurring themes here? And the absence of meat, dairy, and produce? For Americans accustomed to a life of plenty, of having the world’s bounty at the swipe of a credit card, eating repetitive fare like this gives one pause. And yet, as Laura commented before, the Samaritana women–some of the most joyful, life-giving people we know–have been eating like this their whole lives. Looks like Global Hunger Fast Me, like them, needs to look for happiness somewhere beyond the dinner plate.
-Nate* * * * *Daily Tab (for Monday and Tuesday):

30 pesos per meal at Samaritana–ridiculously cheap for Old American Me, and quite cheap for New Missionary Me. But for Global Hunger Fast Me? If it hadn’t been for our friends giving us a ride, we’d still be walking home.
P30x6 meals = P180 (not including internet use on Samaritana’s computer)
  1. Nathan says:

    These posts have been both inspiring and uniquely insightful. And as always well-written and a good read. The Global Hunger Fast You is still sharp with words! Admire what you guys are doing and prayers are with you.

  2. Robin Davis says:

    Oh, how my heart — and my stomach — goes out to you and how I admire you for taking part in this experiment.

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