Today was Day One of CHOSA’s fast in honor of World AIDS Day, and it has certainly been challenging. I rushed out of the house this morning without time for breakfast, and by the time I got home from classes and errands it was 5pm. Hunja, a fellow Fast Team member, prepared us some grits, and I rushed out of the house (again!) and took the mixture in a tupperware to a meeting. After not eating all day, the first bite was welcome, and I was able to ignore the stares of my classmates with whom I was meeting. The more I ate, however, the more I felt my hunger not dissipating at all. By the time I was halfway through my “meal,” I actually wanted to cry, I was so dissatisfied with the only thing that could even attempt to reduce my hunger. To make matters worse, at that moment, another student pulled out a fresh carry-out container of Chinese food. It smelled heavenly.

Distressed as I was in this situation, my mind quickly went back to my kids, and a phone call from Christina, another Fast Team member and former CHOSA volunteer, got me grounded again. We reflected on the desperate situations facing the children that we were blessed to meet while serving with CHOSA, and how for many of them, this is not a choice. This is a daily reality. How silly of me to complain of momentary deprivation when there are millions in this world, particularly those children left without parents and other support networks due to the HIV/AIDS crisis, who literally don’t know where their next meal will come from. Variety, choice, and flavor is not even a consideration for them. I was humbled by this realization, and I am grateful that this fast has given me the opportunity to reflect in some small way on the reality of what South Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable experience every day.

-Ellie Gunderson, Fundraising Coordinator, CHOSA