Fasting has been used effectively to bring about social justice peace. Two leaders that used fasting as a way to bring about change are Mahatma Gandhi and Cesar Chavez. They changed the world that we now live in, by maintaining hope, staying positive, and, at the same time, being serious and dedicated in their activism. Share your fasting experience. Let other fasters know your thoughts, as you connect with the victims of Darfur. Let us know how it feels to not do what we are accustomed to do every day, many times a day. Click on the link “Share your experience” at the bottom of the post for your fasting day.
47 replies on “Share Your Fasting Experience”
I’m 8 hours away from starting my 3 day fast. In reality though, it does not really start until I wake up on Apr. 7th. It’s just a matter of habit gravitating over to food at certain times of the days, so I’ll just try to ignore my urge to go eat breakfast. I’m doing a water only fast for the 3 days, but we are asking each 100-Day faster to do a fast that is appropriate to each individual.
I’ve been thinking about the fast all day today, knowing that these meals I’m chowing on, including this oatmeal cookie I’m munching on right now, will be my last meals for a while.
I’m fasting for Adef, a refugee we met at camp Djabal, in Eastern Chad. Adef told us the story we have heard over and over again. His village was destroyed, and he and his family had to flee across the desert. Adef has a a beautiful family, which includes his wife and five children. They are missing one boy, though. A four years old son died during their run across the desert. He became sick from diarrhea. His mother carried him on her back, and that’s where he died. Adef had to leave his little boy behind and continue ahead, so he could save the rest of his family.
I’m fasting for 3 days, but I know that there is food all around me and that I get to eat at 12:01, after the 3 days. Adef had no idea if his children would live, but he stayed strong, and he remains strong today, hoping to return to a better Darfur.
Take care, Gabe – three days is a long haul for a body that is otherwise well nourished on a regular basis.
That written, you are so right – it is nothing when held in comparison to Adef’s plight and the choices he has had ripped away from him.
In solidarity and with much admiration,
Gayle and co.
You are a shining example of the Bible passage “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”
All the best.
Thank you, Dave. I appreciate your kind words. I met you years ago, and I remember how passionate you area bout helping others. Thank you for staying active.
Day 1 on its way. We set up Camp Darfur at Portland Community College this morning, and so far I have not missed food. The hosts did come and offer me breakfast, though. Again, the habit of eating is what I have to fight through, on this first day’s early hours. Later in the afternoon and tonight will be a different story. Then I’ll start getting hungry, but I don’t want to think about that right now.
So much of life, or at least my life, revolves around food. I definitely miss the eating, but I also miss the time spent eating and what comes with. I really miss the caffeine, though. I usually start rather early with a sugar-free red bull; then, at lunch time, I always refill on the diet soda multiple times. I’ve had a raging, pulsating headache since about 10am.
I have not even completed two days of my three, so I still have tomorrow and the day after ahead. I’m hoping that the headache goes away.
I’ve been thinking about all those children I’ve met in the camps. On this last trip, KTJ and I were talking about how, as we walk the camps and “drop in” on many families at all times of the day, we just never walked in to a meal time. Here in the US, if you walk in to homes at random times, the odds are pretty good that there will be some eating going on.
Today at Portland Community College, I was looking at so many students, staff, and faculty walking around with snacks. A banana that one young man had looked so good. Another student had some of those multi-grain chips that I like. Others had salads and sandwiches. Food all over the place!
Do the children in the camps get used to not eating enough? I can’t imagine.
Although I haven’t started fasting yet, being around Gabriel during Camp Darfur today while he was fasting made me think of food, probably not as much as him, but more than I usually do. My natural instinct was to not eat in front of him. But then it was our usual time to take a break and eat, and he came along, the whole meal I kept asking myself – is this making him more hungry…is this rude? I tried to do anything he asked or suggested (but of course he didn’t ask me) to make him more comfortable, and to try to focus our attention on work.
Is this how mothers and sisters think after not eating for days – how to make their children more comfortable even if they have nothing to give? If they don’t know when their next meal will be. To try to provide them with hope during the long days and sleepless nights?
Our 100 day tag team fast has begun and the calendar is almost filled up. From people all over the globe standing with those in Darfur and refugee camps in Eastern Chad. I thank you for giving up your energy and food for Adef and his family, Fatma, Leila, Adam and all the others you have met.
I am more than halfway through my second day of fasting, and I again have had to be around food; it’s almost impossible not to be around food here in the US.
My little Gabo and I went to give a presentation about Darfur. It was at hotel, and they had a nice buffet for all that were there. So much food! We take it for granted. A few nights ago, I went to Whole Foods for some already-prepared food. It was pretty late, close to closing time. The guy in front of me, seeing the displays full of food, asked the clerk: “How much of this do you have to throw out every night?” The young woman, looking embarrassed, said: “All of it, every night.”
During the presentation, I showed video that I have shown so many times. It always touches me and is never old, but this time I was looking at our friends in the refugee camps with different eyes. When we sit with them, many of them do mention food, the food that they miss. I remember Ahmat back in 2005, telling us how, in Darfur, he would drink milk and eat meat, but in the camps he had nothing. Many have told us that they miss their spices. I can’t imagine eating the same bland food for five years. What kind of long term effect will their diet have on the children?
Today we’re fasting for Fatma. She is just too beautiful!
It’s coming down to the last couple of hours before I get to eat after three days of fasting. I’ve been drinking water, but not too much of that even because I’m just not too thirsty. I’m a bit lightheaded, and I was not very good during a call I had earlier today, loosing the thread of the conversation at times. I’m starting to think about food a lot more now. I’m not sure what I’m going to eat at 12:01, but my daughter Mimi wants me to eat out, so that she can come with me. She’s on spring break, and she loves to stay up late; it sounds fun to her to go eat at midnight.
Today we fasted for Raya. She’s a beautiful girl from refugee camp Kounoungou. Raya is Adam’s daughter. He was so touched, when KTJ and I told him that there were many people out here that were doing all that they can to bring peace to Darfur. Tears began rolling down his eyes.
It’s so easy to let “life get in the way” and disconnect from something as troublesome and disturbing as the violence of Darfur. It really helps to be able to focus also on the beauty that comes from Darfur, such as Raya and the strong spirit that Adam has.
The fast will be passed on to Shahrzad, Lenore, and Yesenia. It’s so nice to see so many people joining the fast. Let’s get many more!
Bless you, Gabriel. You are an angel to the people in Darfur, and for the rest of us, wherever in the world we are.
Dear Gabriel and fellow fasters,
Reading your comments fills me with awe and inspiration. You are incredibly strong and committed. Here’s how my fast went: My last meal was at 6:00 P.M. April 9. I took only water (and one cup of skim milk in the morning because I take a lot of pills every a.m.) I abstained from lunch. I noticed that while fasting, I felt very focused and in solidarity with the hungry people in Darfur. By 6:30 p.m., my 24-hour period had ended and I ate a small meal. It was too much to wait until the next morning.
I want to try again on May19. Nobody has signed in for that yet. Can you put me on the schedule? You don’t have to record this but I did contribute $27. by clicking on a Darfur mailing; I receive from several orgs., not sure which one it was. I’ll givve again when I’m on the schedule.
I feel a lot of great energy radiating from your comments and narratives. Let’s be well and strong so we can help more.
Thank you, Lenore! Thank you for sharing your experience, and thank you for caring. I also experienced that feeling of being focused and more connected with the people of Darfur when I fasted. Yes, let’s be strong to keep going and act with more urgency. We cannot let these atrocities continue!
Thank you for your dedication and your energy to stand with the people of Darfur during your fast. I will makes sure that you are on the calendar for May 19th. Thank you so much for sharing your fast experience, it’s exactly what we want people to do. To build community among each other and with the people of Darfur during this 100 days and beyond.
I have fasted a few times before in my life so I thought this would be no big deal. I have never not had anything other than water before. Usually I don’t give up m liquids so that I can still enjoy in coffee, juice, and diet coke! This time I gave it all up and longed for my usual coffee this morning when I woke up. I am with my family all weekend and decided these three days would be the biggest sacrifice for me out of the options. I was asked late afternoon to accompany my brother in law on a bike ride. I wasn’t feeling well, my head hurt but didn’t want the “this isn’t healthy talk, or the you are giving up family time talk”…We rode for hours and at first I was weak and light headed but pushed through. I got home in time to help cook dinner as a family and took a shower through them eating. I think my body is really starting to feel affects from nothing but water.
I realized each time I am getting weak and want to just have something small I think about the families that live off of nearly anything, or go without every day. For me these three days, however impossible they seem to achieve, is about allowing me to begin to understand what it is truly like to go without. It motivates even as I sit here not only for the people of Darfur, but every person that suffers from hunger!
I really liked your comment. By fasting and doing it in solidarity with those that are being persecuted, I also thought so much about how they don’t have a choice! They cannot give up their forced fast. Please take care of yourself. It’s probably not a good idea to exercise when fasting :) but I’m sure you’ve been hearing from your family about this. Thank you so much for your commitment and willingness to give more.
Well, it’s about 8pm and I’m beginning to fade a little. I allowed myself liquids for this fasting day since I had a pretty busy schedule; the liquids (especially the tea)helped a lot. I’m not really hungry, just a little edgy. It’s nothing compared with what the families endure every day in the camps (and many other places in the world).
This morning, in support of another cause I care about, I went to the launch of the Hollywood to the Docks three day walk for union jobs and a living wage in Los Angeles. I figured I’d have no problem walking, especially in the morning. It was a great send off with high energy and everyone in a good mood. I couldn’t help but think how fortunate we are to have the strength and freedom to organize like this, and how much our friends in the Darfur refugee camps would love to trade places, even with the very real challenges working folks face in the US these days.
I want to share a quote from Joyce Hollyday that inspires me. It makes me think so much of the people we are fasting in solidarity with. Hollyday writes: “Living as we do in a world that suffers so much, two opposing possibilities can easily tempt us: either to turn our backs and live oblivious to the pain or to allow the pain to overwhelm us and despair to take up residence in our hearts. The truly faithful option is to face the pain and live joyfully in the midst of it. Those who suffer most remind us of how tragic and arrogant it would be for us to lose hope on behalf of people who have not lost theirs. They are teachers of joy.”
Today here in Thailand, it is approaching lunch; a lunch I will forgo today to stand with beautiful Leila. She lives in refugee camp Gaga, in Eastern Chad. She and thousands of children continue to know of no other life outside of a camp. They live off of the aid that reaches them, and now even that is in great risk. At times it is reduced, and at times it cannot reach them. They are counting on you to help.
I was trying to get you to a picture of Leila… :-)
Maybe the a href tag will work this time…
G’Day Thailand – ya did good!!
with lots of love from Oz!!! :)
I wondered when/what day the little angel from Gaga would show up. I KNOW that having favourites under these circumstances is appalling, but since the last i-ACT I wonder often about Leila. How much has she grown since we all last saw her July 2007 with Gabe and Connie? Is she OK? And her Mum and siblings? (And how can such a tiny snippet of a thing enchant so many hearts? :)
And then I start wondering about all of them. All of the kids circling around Leila – giggling as she got all tangled up trying to dress herself quickly to see Gabe again, to the point of needing Connie to un-tangle her. (that was SO sweet)
ALL of those kids…. carrying other smaller kids…… all of whom are probably big enough now to carry rather than be carried. Growing up in Camps……. but holding on.
with love and hugs to everyone participating – fasters and sponsors alike – and for Leila.
Moses is fasting today – and it is also his BIRTHDAY!!!!
Happy Birthday, Moses.
with love from Australia to Kenya,
I fasted yesterday – Tuesday 22nd April – in solidarity with Amouna and it was a strange sort of day.
First – the honest admission!!
It is no secret that I’ve never been a fan of the use of a Fast as a means of drawing attention to an injustice – in fact in the past, I have actively discouraged people from “replicating a problem” in order to highlight it.
When I received the original email from Gabe/sgn, I was a little torn regarding what to do but figured if ever there was going to be an exception for me, this was it.
I’ve had to go without food on a number of occasions when working in some parts of Asia but it was never more than 24 – 36 hours before something substantial and nutritious was again available so I started the day believing that there probably wouldn’t be any surprises. (even the anticipated thumping caffeine withdrawal headache arrived at around 4pm as expected)
What I HADN’T considered was the emotional impact of fasting – in solidarity with one particular woman – would have on me throughout yesterday.
I literally could not get Amouna’a face out of my head all day – the focus was so powerfully and profoundly different than just fasting “for a cause”……..to the point where there were quite a few tears shed at different moments throughout the day.
When midnight arrived and I gratefully sat down with a cup of tea and a fresh, crisp apple from the fruit bowl, I was so excruitiatingly aware that it was 3pm in the afternoon in the Camp where Amouna lives and she was more than likely hungry and uncertain…….as she was the day before and will be again tomorrow.
I don’t know what else to write – in many ways, it was a much harder day than I thought it would be and for being surprised by that, I am a bit ashamed – and deeply grateful for the increased awareness.
Amiga Gayle. Thank you. I was so touched by your post. Thank you for the exception, and thank you for connecting so closely with Amouna. I wish I could give you a good long hug right now.
I thought of you all day yesterday during my fast. I wondered if you were playing or singing songs or learning something new. I know one thing for sure, you did not have enough of anything you need. I wish I could come there and bring you everything you need to grow into a strong young woman. Because I believe you and each of your friends have something wonderful and important to contribute to our human family.
Dubai Cares just gave money- a lot of money -16.6 million dollars- to help educate Sudanese Children through Save the Children UK and Sweden. This seems like a good idea but all I could think of was how will you get your share of this education, in a camp in Chad? How can you learn where you are not safe or comfortable or fed? As a girl will you get your share?
I tried to work and fast yesterday. It was very hard to concentrate, to think. I wondered how you can learn anything new after days and days of not eating properly or sleeping well.
It was hard for me to sleep last night on empty stomach. I am cranky this morning- I have not yet had my breakfast. I want to be mad at everyone and everything. I am extra tired. I wonder if it must be hard for the adults to show how much they love you when they are cranky from not eating or sleeping well.
I know my fasting cannot change your life in the camp in Chad directly, but it will mean I will never forget you and your family and friends in the camps. I will think of you three times a day, at least.
Kathleen – thank you so much for sharing your “letter” to Zanuba.
It is so beautiful it made me cry.
Thank you so much for sharing your love and words for Zanuba with our entire community. As with Gayle, it made me cry. I didn’t cry in the camps when I was there. I didn’t even break down in the capital. I stayed strong. But now back, and working with so many of the pictures, writing the stories, sharing the words of the refugees over and over to high schools, colleges and communities has brought tears to my eyes. I remain hopeful that we can succeed at bringing peace back to Darfur and help Zanuba and others resettle in their homeland. But my heart still aches to think that everyday the Sudanese government continues to target the Fur, Massaliet, and Zahgawa for complete destruction. My tears have now turned into energy I will need to ensure that this genocide ends.
Fasting for precious Sahadia left me feeling a tiny bit nutritionally depleted and spiritually enriched beyond measure. I will continue to hold Sahadia close to me and work for her.
As Nell and I exchanged in email, we “Held hands” and fasted together for “our” precious little one, Sahadia.
Nell – I love what you wrote as it was just how I too felt on Tuesday – and I love that we held hands (hearts and souls) across the miles for them all……Sahadia, her brother, all the kids in their camp and in memory of the extraordinarily courageous and hope-filled, Dith Pran.
with love, hugs and peace to you,
Thank you so much, Gayle! Back at you :-)
As I ate a great cup of oatmeal, my first intake of anything but water for the 33 hours I fasted (in solidarity with Youssoff), I read about the current world food crisis in an email from Avaaz. I think about how much priviledge I have in being able, not only to eat when I’m hungry, but access to any kind of food I desire. After fasting these hours, I am extra sensitive to the pain and weakness of going hungry. No one should starve, it’s so unneccesary.
Please read about the food crisis happening today. Please sign the petition to the UN, and spread the message.
Thank you so much for fasting and for really focusing on the experience. We do take so much for granted here in our comfortable lives; it is so easy to forget that a large part of the world’s population is feeling the pain of hunger, and they don’t have the option to stop fasting. During my fasting, I was so aware of all the food around me! It’s everywhere in our culture. Again, thanks for being there with Youssoff.
Hi KTJ and Gabriel!
I think I read that you will be going to Chad in June.
If so, is there anything you can take with you for the refugees that we can provide you?
We are looking to bring laminated pictures so the refugees can keep them on this next trip. We are also looking to bring a few pieces of sports equipment to leave at various secondary school site. Other than that UNHCR can purchase the necessary resources closer to Chad and cheaper than flying it there. Nell, are you involved in Tents of Hope? Pictures of our actions and advocacy that we can leave brings them hope that one day there will be peace in their homeland. A picture of your group working on divestment would be great too!
Hope all is well with you!
Always good to hear from you!
I’m sorry; I haven’t been involved in Tents of Hope.
Do have photos of recent protest at Coke in NYC, including Motasim Adam.
Will work on pictures.
May I send you a soccer ball? Can it be inflated there or should I send it inflated to you?
KTJ…I forgot to ask if you have been in touch with TOMS re shoes for refugees. Best, Nell
Hi KTJ! I have a small (for 8 years old and younger) soccer ball (very happy in color [and lightweight]), as you will see) which I will send to your address in CA unless you advise otherwise. XX Nell
I am eight hours into my fast. After just a few hours, I felt panicky. Generally, in my life, I never, ever let myself get hungry; I avoid it at all costs because I know I start to panic when I feel hungry. I start thinking about the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, and more recently, I think about Chann’s starvation in Cambodia. But I don’t stay with it for long. I get food into me to squelch the panic. (See why I’m overweight?)
So this is a day of living with the panic. I feel funny saying this. Basically, I feel like such a baby! This is good for me: to really start to “get it” — just a tiny bit — of what it feels like for people who go day after day after day without enough, with almost nothing, with nothing!
I didn’t tell people I was doing this; I don’t know why. When I look at the list of fasters, I see there are a lot of people from Oregon. It seems we should have gone to The Oregonian with this list — and we still can. People from Oregon, what do you think?
I think you are SO cool for being SO honest and sharing how you felt.
You seemed self-conscious about feeling a sense of panic – please don’t be.
This fast has been the most amazing personal awareness raising experience for so many who have participated. For some it has brought sadness to the surface, in others, anger and outrage. Everyone seems to have had a heightened emotional experience in some way or another…….and for so many of us, really powerful, overwhelming and/or personally surprising moments.
Be kind to yourself – and just know I think you are grand for sharing the way you did.
hugs and peace,
PS: YESSSSSSSSS!!! The Oregonian sounds like a great idea. Where’s Miss KTJ and all those I fasted with today???? Thoughts? (they are all from Oregon :)
I think we should go to the Oregonian. I would love to write an article or a letter to the editor with you! Let me know if you are still up for this!
In Peace, KTJ
I fasted on May 19 as planned. It was easier than the first time. I think I’ll fast again May 25 in solidarity with Chann Noun who is also fasting that day. Even though I don’t know the names of specific Darfurians, my heart goes out to them. Fasting and giving financial support is the least I can do to help push this rock up the mountain. I’m so inspired by the letters of those who share their experiences. Thank you, Gabriel and Katie Jay for your personal responses to me.
Thank you once again for standing with the people of Darfur. When I fasted yesterday, and hope you joined us, I thought a lot about personal responsibility. Someone has asked me how fasting here in Portland could possibly help the people of Darfur. As you said, its the least we can do as humans to stand with all the people who have died because of who they are. Some people can do great things, like participate in peacekeeping missions, sit on UN committees, and broker peace deals, but we as individuals can make public and personal statements that we do not accept this violence. Thank you for standing with Darfur.
my day for fasting was yesterday, 25may, in solidarity with chann and mina. i had no trouble and was concentrating prayerfully. around 1300, i began to feel very ill in a way i recognized as dangerous and i suddenly remembered that i have DIABETES which has been well-controlled for many years.
i quickly ate something high in sugar, followed by some protein and felt better, except for my soul, which felt disappointed in my own human shortcomings. i am an old woman with lots of time but no money, but, the way i must see it is that time is money for an activist effort such as this, so urgent and so immediate. rather than die for the darfur victims of genocide, i should live so that i can use what gifts i have to help. (i am a writer with a medical background.)
so my fast was broken prematurely, but not my dedication. if there is a need for a skilled writer, esp. with a medical orientation and/or a fearless determination, please call on me through gabriel, who is, btw, one of my heros in this life.
keep the faith.
Your dedication is the most important gift you can offer to Darfuris. There is a limit to everyone’s ability to reach out, and we all have very personal skills and avenues to contribute to the world, and to Sudan. I would love to figure out a way to work with your skills, be able to post materials about the medical situation in the camps and in Sudan on our website as posts. As we prepare to leave once again for the camps, I will begin to think about how we can utilize your skills in our community.
Peace be with you, KTJ
I want to first say that fasting in solidarity with Chann, one of the most courageous individuals I know, is an honor. This fast was harder for me than when I fasted earlier this month. My first fast I have ever done. It was after two days of listening to Chann’s story and hosting Camp Darfur at Lake Oswego High School. I was particularly emotional those two days, I think mostly because of listening to Chann describe starvation, and other elements of his time under the Khmer Rouge. His vivid descriptions and the memories of being with Darfur refugees last January overhwelmed me. And I think, in a way, this came through in my presentations at LOHS, and it came through yesterday during our fast. I was home most of the day, and ran a few errands, organized Camp Darfur from last week’s event at PSU. I was hungrier, and in the last hours of fasting I stayed awake rather than falling asleep as I did before. I returned to the question:
“Would I be able to feel like this and work in the fields of the Khmer Rouge or carry my children across the desert to safety?”
I don’t know what the answer is, but I can tell you that I felt the question burning in my empty stomach, and my mind as I listened to my roommates, and watched them open and close our packed fridge. For me, the anti-genocide movement is not only a larger social movement, but it’s about altering my own self, and habits, and culture. To live the beliefs of the social movement on an individual level. And so what does that mean? How do I go about doing that? How do we all go about doing that? It means I need to sit down and reflect on what more I can do. That doesn’t mean making sacrifices, because decisions to better myself and the movement and the community that has been created around ending genocide are very real and necessary for all of us to evolve into a world that doesn’t stand for this violence. That accepts everyone, equally, and fights against economic and personal greed.
And it starts with each one of us.
Thank you all for participating in the community to end genocide by personally challenging yourself, and standing together.
Chann is a very extraordinary person, with a very extraordinary life- listening to is story IS very impactful, and I will be joining him next time he decides to fast for that very reason.
The fact that we have the *option* to fast, rather than simply not having anything to eat is staggering when truly examined.
By voluntarally setting aside our own gluttony for a day, we can make a statement, and I feel that it is extremely relevant and meaningful.
Your comment was beautifully expressed. Thank you.
Yesterday was the first day I ever fasted for 24 hours. Every time I felt hungry, I realized that this is a feeling Djiwerie probably knows quite well, and it isn’t just for one day, it is a way of life for her and so many others in Darfur. As I sat down to have breakfast this morning, it occurred to me how much I take the simple joy of a good meal for granted. It is something nobody should have to do without. I confess I didn’t really understand the value of fasting in solidarity with others who don’t have a choice, but I get it now.
Thank you for sharing about your fast experience. We are now out in Chad, getting ready to go to the refugee camps in a couple of days. We are always amazed at how much energy children like Djiwerie have while eating so little food and haven eaten pretty much the same diet for almost five years. We do take so much for granted. Thank you for being a part of the fast and allowing yourself to experience the connection with Djiwerie.