True Hungry

The day began at 4:45 am so that we could board the bus at 5:30 am to travel to the national park for the safari.  The coolest part of the whole safari thing is the graduating class of Acres of Hope was going to be attending the safari with us!  We were so excited that our going to the safari would also provide them with the opportunity.  In the cost we each paid for the trip, we included the fee for a child to be able to have the same experience!  Everyone was excited!

Can you imagine? Living in this area, 30 minutes from where the beautiful animals roam free, and never being able to experience that?

As the West people boarded the bus, we were surprised to find the students from Acres of Hope already there!  Apparently, their day began around 3:30 am so that they could walk to meet the bus at our hotel.  Yet there were no tired eyes, just some happy and joy-filled smiles as a rather cool field trip was about to begin.

There was a contrast on our end, however.  Our eyes did not simply show joy and anticipation.  Some of our eyes showed lack of sleep and a desire to crawl back in bed.

I’ll confess, as much as I wanted to be totally and ONLY 100% excited, my eyes were on the tired end.  Last night – sleep and I were not friends.

For the first two hours as I tossed and turned, I tried to tell myself it was because I was hot.

Or maybe I just had too much on my mind.  I was grateful the women’s conference was over… but that experience alone changed me. (I can’t wait to tell you about it in person someday in a West message – when appropriate!)

Truth – about 3am Ugandan time, I concluded the reason I could not sleep is I was hungry.

I began pondering foods… perhaps  you have seen the movie, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” when food falls from the sky?  That was similar to my thoughts throughout the night.

Macaroni and Cheese
Chips and Salsa
Veggie Pizza
A cold Diet Mountain Dew
A salad with lots of veggies
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Red Velvet Cupcakes


All the foods flashed in and out of mind as the night wore on.

Thursday as the women’s conference moved into the afternoon hours, I did not feel very well.  I figured it was nerves/fatigue from flying and that a good night’s sleep would let it pass.  We came back to the hotel, the team went to purchase flip flops for us to distribute to the women as we washed their feet on Friday, and I fell asleep.

A few hours later I woke up with a fever.  I took some medicine and turned in for the night.  Apparently, some small stomach bug or something had taken hold of me… so for Thursday night and all day Friday, other than a few crackers, I couldn’t eat a thing.

My stomach hurt too badly to eat dinner last night, so I went to bed without food.

The minutes turned into hours and from 10:30 pm on into the morning, 30 minutes of sleep were all that would come.

Trying to figure out why I wouldn’t sleep wasn’t helping. But… as the clock hit 3am and my stomach made audible growling sounds, I realized what was wrong.

I was hungry.

Then it hit me.

“I can’t sleep right now in this hotel room on a soft mattress with my pillow from home because I’m hungry.  But wait – I’m not REALLY hungry.  I might need a snack… and I might have gone a few hours without food.  But – Andrea Smith, you are NOT ‘true hungry’.”

It took me back to our first trip to Africa as a family five years ago. Andrew, Layne, Scott and I sat around a table with the other people from Williamson’s Chapel/West and Samaritan’s Feet and we wept.

Layne commented that she had experienced God that week as she learned how fortunate she really was.  That she didn’t need “more stuff” and was ashamed of what she had.  She ended her statement with,

“And I will never again say ‘I’m starving!’ Because I don’t know starving!”

Last night as I lie in bed watching the minutes tick by and wishing they would pass more quickly so I could find a snack in my suitcase without waking Becky (my roommate), I was convicted that I don’t really know a true “hungry.”

Sure, I’m hungry for good health, success, wealth, positive reputation, etc. but I don’t know “true hungry.”

Perhaps it is time for me to reconsider what it means to be “true hungry!”