This is an uncomfortable blog to write….it takes me back to a rather sad and unpleasant time in my life….fortunately, I have had many ‘happy endings’ which makes writing this much easier!
I have experienced hunger a few times….my family were not wealthy and putting a meal on the tables at times was just not possible. Growing up in an Indian community meant that everything was ‘hush-hush’ – I did not speak about it…actually nobody spoke about it! It was a game we played…pretending that everything was fine!
A packed school lunch was a luxury – my dad tried, I suppose but it just wasn’t enough. I cried sometimes…just feeling so overwhelmed by such poverty, helplessness and embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong, there were good times too but every now and then, our lives were punctuated with hunger! I did not starve, but I sure know what it feels like to be hungry.
There were lots of people who looked down upon us….judging and being harsh with words. But there were people who also shared their meals with us. I will always be grateful…there were just a few and I can count them on my fingers. I often think about those kids that I went to school with who just shared their sandwiches without asking too many questions…I am still in touch with them…old school friends like Prinola Gurie (Australia) and Sharon Srikisoon Chetty (Houston, Texas) – thank you two for being such awesome friends! During those difficult times, I dreamt the biggest dreams…and was grew determined and head strong…I grew a voice to match my determination!
I met Claudia Altorio from the World Food Programme in 2012 and while chatting, I just suddenly shared my story with her….my childhood tales from days I long to sometimes forget. I joined the World Food Programme because being hungry leaves memories of desperation that I will never forget! My second recipe book, Curry Me Home, Again has raised R30000 for WFP and I will continue raising funds through my projects! There has been much to celebrate over the years….a successful food brand, two recipe books, TV shows, the AMC brand ambassadorship, the Goldman Sachs Scholarship, Winning first prize at the Gordon Institute of Business Science Business Plan Competition….writing a column for the Post Newspaper…and now being featured weekly on SABC 2’s Mela! At every winning moment, I pause, and look back to see the girl I used to be….because without her, there would be no drive and determination!
World Food Day is coming up on the 16 October and I would like to say, ‘Hunger is the world’s most solvable problem!’ Every little bit counts, so please do spare a thought for those less fortunate! An unfortunate start can sometimes take you on the most beautiful journey and it is on this journey that I learnt the greatest lessons!
I would like to thank everyone….everyone that travelled on my journey and been a part of it! And to those that didn’t, thank you for making me even more determined to succeed. A huge heartfelt thanks to the companies that I work for and represent…AMC Cookware, KtichenAid and Spar!
So while I celebrate life and feast on my blog, I ask you to be a part of my journey….click ‘Follow’ on my blog…and leave a comment if you have read this….I will be donating R1 for every follower (even existing followers) to the World Food Programme! This is not my original idea….Two days ago, I was desperately craving a KFC Zinger burger! I rushed off to the KFC drive through and the lady at the ‘drive through’ asked me, “Would you like to ‘ADD HOPE'”? I said yes…and thought…surely I can find a way to ADD HOPE too! And this is my way…and I am hoping that you ADD HOPE too!