Thursday, June 6, 2019

The reason I'm choosing to go 40 hours without food

Six months ago I met a girl I’ll never forget. Her name was Edna. And what she told me is precisely why I’m choosing to go 40 hours without food.

“I was 8 years old and at school in South Sudan when the soldiers began to shoot bullets. People were running. I remember seeing many people had died. There was lots of blood. People were floating in the river. I kept asking myself, why do people do things like this? My older sister, brother and I ran home to try find our parents and three younger siblings. They were not there. We had to run. After three days we reached Uganda and were registered as refugees. My legs were swollen. My parents weren’t there either.  We were all alone, we didn’t know anyone. There was no one that could build for us a house. Our parents loved us so much and had taught us how important school was. Soon after we sold our food rations to pay for school fees. One day we introduced ourselves to World Vision. They registered us and gave us food. By this time I had gone four days without food. I wanted to die at that time. World Vision then built for us a house. We now also have a foster mother who keeps an eye on us. I don’t know where my parents are.  The war has separated us. I do not know whether they are alive or dead. I like playing in the playground (installed by World Vision) near to my house. I like learning about maths and science. When I grow up I want to be a pilot.”

When Edna told me she wanted to be a pilot I asked her if she wanted to go play with me. That day she’d been wearing a blanket and so went out into the field behind her house and shot these.

I think her story stuck with me so much because she reminded me of my own daughter. She even looked like her a little bit. My Mama arms just wanted to wrap around her and hold her so tight. I wanted to buy her new clothes and cook her healthy food. I wanted to read her a bedtime story and sing to her as she went to sleep. She told me with such despair in her voice about how they have to eat the same thing every single day. She cried telling me about how her Mum used to give her meat and fish and vegetables and she has not had that since.  Her Mum and Dad love Edna and her siblings so much - I could tell by the way they held themselves and the way they spoke.

I hope and pray that Edna and her siblings will one day reunite with their Mum, Dad and three younger siblings.  And while they wait, be encouraged that there are some really wonderful organisations like our friends over at World Vision trying their best to help unaccompanied children like Edna find their feet. 

On a much wider note, I want you to encourage you that step by step, year by year our world is improving. In the last 20 years alone there has beenhuge decline in the share of the world’s population living on less than $2 a day. It used to be 35 percent in 1987 and now it’s under 10 per cent. Though our planet still faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress.
It is the least I can do to go 40 hours without food this weekend and support the Youth Ambassadors and World Vision staff I worked alongside to bring this story to life through this years 40 hour famine.

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