Sieun Lee, Day 6

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I wanted something savory for breakfast, so I ate a cup of the broccoli soup with 1/4 cup of steamed rice. Then I made an instant coffee like yesterday.

Throughout the morning I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I ate a quarter of a bagel with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese, then half of a pluot.

To fight off the constant feeling of fatigue, I ate 2 fried (without oil) eggs, and rice with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. I felt better soon, but in a couple of hours I was feeling tired again when I was not even hungry.

My brain stayed foggy, and when I got on the bus at 2:30 to go to a volunteer duty, I realized that I had forgotten to pack any food or water. After the volunteer work, I missed the bus, and slowly walked for 40 minutes to catch another bus. On the buses I slept because I was too tired to stay away.

I got back to the lab at 6PM, and ate almost everything I had in the fridge – 2 cups of steamed rice, 1/2 cup of the broccoli soup, 10 grapes, and even one emergency BabyBel cheese. I felt full, bloated, and not good at all.

Food count

3.75 cup steamed rice: $0.52
1.5 cup broccoli soup: $0.30
Instant coffee: $0.40
1/4 bagel: $0.12
1 tbsp cream cheese: $0.17
1/2 pluot
2 eggs: $0.70
10 grapes: $0.25
1 BabyBel cheese: $0.40
1 After Eight: $0.07


Not counted: 1/2 pluot


* Today was the worst. For the entire day I felt so helplessly tired, and like half of my brain was gone and the rest was washed out. I walked and moved slowly, took much longer to do the same tasks, forgot things, and made mistakes.

* The severe, sustained fatigue is something different from the attacks of restlessness, anxiety, and irritability I expereinced from hunger. I am perhaps, on the sixth day, starting to see signs of prolonged or repeted hunger / malnutrition.

* I also became quite depressed. I did not feel well at all, and could not enjoy things as much as I did before. I subsequently felt very sad that people should be put in such a state by food insecurity. Food insecurity was something so much more than simply not having enough food – it must profoundly affect one’s capacity in life and mental health.

* On the way back to the lab, I kept on thinking to myself that when I have my own family, I would never let them go hungry. Strangely, such thought had never occured to me before, because I had never really experienced hunger. I thought about how poverty and food insecurity are such remote and strange concepts to many who grew up in affluent countries, and how the problem of hunger was not something so unfamiliar even to my parents’ generation in Korea. I remembered my father telling us stories about growing up in a post-war slum and asking American soldiers for chocolates. I thought the experience of being hungry and not having enough to eat can impress a person very deeply, because it takes away one’s very basic freedom and dignity as a human being.

* So, what can I do?

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