Yesterday a friend of mine in Honduras asked me if I knew what it felt like to be hungry. I realized I don’t. I mean I know how it feels to be that grumpy hungry when I haven’t eaten in a while, but actually hungry where there is no prospect of food, I have no idea.
She told me about how it was for her during the first 8 years of her life when her family had no money and so there were very often times when she and her brothers would have to wait two days to eat. As a little girl she would go to shops trying to do any little work she could just to get some bread with butter for her and her brothers so they could survive. She said to me, “You have no idea how it feels in your belly to be really hungry. You can’t imagine the feeling of not knowing when you will eat.” She is right of course. I have no idea what that hunger feels like, and no idea how a child must feel when they don’t have any power to go anything.
This memory drives her as a mother to always provide food for her children no matter what and in a country where no matter what can happen quite frequently that hasn’t always been possible for her. She told me about the one time she couldn’t feed her own children and her son looked at her and a jar of coffee on the table and asked her if she could at least make him some of that so his stomach would stop hurting. (He was under 5 years old).
As we prepare to head back to the States for a few months I find myself genuinely worried about the massive contrast between the way we have been living here, very simply with no advertising in our faces, no traffic, no massive stores with excessive waste and full of things to buy that no one really needs and the communities here with many people who legitimately know what hunger and hopelessness feels like.
I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about her question, maybe because I know how hungry and uncomfortable I am missing one meal, knowing I will have another soon with no problem and I feel ashamed for getting “hangry” or maybe it is because I heard it from a mother’s perspective and that affects me deeply. Either way I will not forget or stop thinking about how to help with this issue worldwide.