Across the Town, Across the World: Syracuse University
Sep 28, 2013
By Mallory Weber, HungerU Crew
The Land of Orange, and the home of New York's college football; that's where the HungerU Crew and exhibit spent our past Friday.
Syracuse was the first campus at which we would only be spending one day, so one of the biggest things on our minds was, "How can we make the biggest impact possible in our short amount of time here?" After all, some of our most engaging conversations from our first stop came from those students who were back at the exhibit for round two from the day before.
Our worries would soon come to an abrupt halt as the students of SU made their way over to us. We were completely amazed at not only the interest many students showed in what we were doing and the global hunger crisis about which we are trying to bring awareness, but in also helping to spread the news.
Though the HU Crew was fortunate to hear many testimonies throughout the day, there was one in particular that stuck with me.
I love to travel and I love meeting new people. Two reasons I love being on the HungerU Crew! And I'm sure anyone else who suffers from wanderlust like I do, knows what I'm talking about when I say I have listed countries around the world in order of how badly I long to visit them. Number one on my list is Ireland, but number two? Greece. The picturesque country has something about its beauty and atmosphere that just draws me to it.
However, I realized this past Friday that there is a lot more to all these glorified vacation spots than the travel agencies and movies tell you about. I spoke with a student who grew up in Greece, who couldn't have been more willing to share her testimony.
I hadn't realized or ever even stopped to think about how people in the country of Greece suffer from hunger just as badly as the people here at home, if not more. She told me about how she remembered being in class and seeing many students in her class fainting throughout the day due to hunger. She told me how prominent the problem of hunger is on the mainland of Greece in the populated cities I've always thought of with a sense of nostalgia for a place I've never even been.
Interestingly enough, the word 'nostalgia' actually comes from Greek origins from the words 'nostos' meaning 'return home' and 'algos' meaning 'pain.' She told me how many times she and her friends would go without a meal so they could give food to other children they saw suffering. It was also very common, she told me, for people with plenty of food, (typically farmers) like her grandmother, to make extra food in anticipation of hungry people around town asking for it.
One thing she said she remembered from when she was young was coming down the stairs in the morning to find six strangers at the table eating breakfast. She told me that her grandmother very regularly would go outside to find people who looked like they had no place to go and invite them in. Amongst all of this though, one thing stuck with me most. The thing she said that really hit me was that, "When you go outside you expect people to come and ask you for food. If no one stops you to ask for food, it's just weird. You think, 'What is happening?'"
Hunger is everywhere. It's here at home, and it's far away. We often times don't think about it because it doesn't affect us directly. We often think of all our dream destinations to be places of fun and fancy free. I challenge you to take a moment, or maybe more, to learn about the effects of hunger not only around you, but in places we don't typically think of it being. Be an advocate. Be willing to learn. Be aware. Be willing to make others aware.
The hunger crisis demands YOUR attention. Will you give your attention to those who need it?