September 19, 2008

Chronic Hunger

Tell me have you ever experienced chronic hunger?
It is the month of Ramadan and I am fasting daily, but in all honesty I have not felt the feeling of chronic hunger. I have a substantial breakfast before dawn and break the fast at sundown with enough food to satisfy my family of five's appetite. Although I admit I may feel a bit peckish during the day sometimes but it seems to me that it is nothing compared to the real thing...
You see I am reading this book called "A small corner of hell, dispatches from Chechnya" written by a Russian journalist, Anna Politkovkaya, who documented the plight of refugees and people of Chechnya at the turn of this century. One account is of Khazimat Gambieva, a 51 year old woman whom she described is the first person she encounters that is swollen from hunger, an image she can't dispel from her memory . Khazimat is a grandmother who used to work as a nurse for twenty years but as a refugee fleeing from the atrocities of war, she gave most of the food that came her way to her eleven children and grandchildren, and now the disease dystrophy or chronic hunger has turned her in Politkovkaya own words, "into a living woodcut... Woodcuts , as everyone knows, are drawn in one color. Khazimat Gambieva, a withered old refugee with swollen joints and an inflated stomach, looks exactly that way-- as if she had been drawn in black and white , with her black wrinkles standing out on her parchmentlike skin. "
Politkovkaya goes on to explain that there isn't really enough food for everyone in the Chiri-Yurt settlement, as they only receive humanitarian aid called a '3 day ration' every couple of months. How could a person, let alone a family with 3 cans of evaporated milk and 1 can of processed meat each, survive for a couple of months at a time?

September 14, 2008

Kitchen Helpers

I now have two lil kitchen helpers as my sons have volunteered to help me in the kitchen. Toddler is quite independent and likes to cut and eat his own food like cheese or fruits. At first I was a little apprehensive about him using a knife but he is coping beautifully (I only let him use a butter knife). Apparently, there is nothing unusual in letting them use a knife, as my neighbour, a qualified teacher, also mentioned that her toddler uses one to cut his food up.
His older brother, ds likes to help me stirfry veges, adding the bits and pieces enthusiastically into the pan. He can also make his own omelettes. I think it might be because he is used to baking cookies at school that he is not adversed to the idea of helping in the kitchen . He tells me he wants to learn how to cook so he can cook stuff for me when his older. How thoughtful! I think he might have a knack for cooking when he growns up.

September 02, 2008

Ahlan Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak! Kul aam wa antum bikhair!