On the flight to Entebbe on Sunday, I was delighted to discover one of the Great British Bake Off’s series finales on the in-flight entertainment (amongst other gems like Argo and The Sapphires, but I digress…). Fellow passengers would be forgiven for wondering if I’d gone a little bit mad as I giggled, gasped and groaned at the bakers’ antics. [For those who I know will be wondering, it was the series 2 final – the last series there was before I discovered the sheer genius of the show.]
As it finished, a thought struck me: I was on my way to Uganda – a nation where many of its population don’t have enough to eat, let alone the resources with which to make three different petits fours in order to please Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Here I was, about to spend a week with people who had very little, and I was salivating over baking. It was rather disturbing.
This time last week, the students I work with were having an evening in which they looked at the IF campaign. In case you’re unaware, the basic premise of this campaign is very simple, nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year – what if we were able to do something to ensure that this was no longer the case? A coalition of charities and organisations have combined forces to act on this campaign – Tearfund is one of them.
Today, on our first trip to the village of Ogongora where we’ll be spending three days, we arrived just before the church’s nursery school had their lunch. The school provides an education for children too young to make the trek (around 2km, on their own) to the nearest primary school. There were around 30 kids there this morning, ranging in age from 3 to 7. Each lined up calmly and collected the plateful of porridge that formed their midday meal.
As we watched them eat, we were told that the food is provided by the church and that for some of the children there, it might be the only meal they have all day. These are very people whose lives would change if global hunger could be eradicated – a week after discussing the theory with my wonderful, idealistic student group, I had the reality of the situation in front of me. And it’s shocking.