Your harvest donations will make a lasting difference

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye explains how your donations for Family Fast Day will instill hope into those that see eating as a luxury.

On Sunday 23 September, pottering about in the kitchen, my constant companion – the radio – informs me that this very day is the autumn equinox, when day and night meet as equals, the official start of autumn.

I glance out through the kitchen window onto my garden, and see that the leaves are already falling, and turning their magnificent autumn yellows, browns and berry colours.

Host a Family Fast Day simple meal

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Facing the Beast from the East with no hot food

Hal and Cherrie from London based east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse have been finding sticking to their Lent Give It Up Challenge a little tricky – especially when Hal had to face the cold of the ‘Beast from the East’ without hot food or drinks!

Hal eating cold food
Hal eating cold chicken in coconut with a cold drink

Hal: Giving up hot food and drink on the basis that it starts with the first letter of my Christian name sounded like a great idea before the season of Lent began. What I never foresaw, however, was that London would experience its coldest winter with temperatures dropping to sub zero levels.

It’s a primitive instinct when you’re cold to take in hot fluids and hot foodstuff. For example, nothing tastes better than a baked potato on a cold winter’s night. So when the Beast from the East burst in to our lives, I was struggling with these basic instincts.

Donate to the CAFOD Lent appeal

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Mother’s Day: why all mums deserve breastfeeding help

When Laura Storr from CAFOD’s communications team heard how new mum Unity from Zimbabwe was struggling to breastfeed – she knew only too well how difficult it could be. As we look forward to Mother’s Day, she shares her own breastfeeding story and explains how you can help more mums get the specialist support they need by donating this Lent.

It’s 10pm and I’ve been breastfeeding my daughter Rosa on and off for the last five hours. Rosa was born two weeks ago, and every time she tries to feed, which is about 10-12 times a day, my body tenses with pain. At times, its so painful, I cry out. And she rarely seems satisfied. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. And I’m worried that she isn’t putting on weight.

Later that night, I remember that I was given a bunch of leaflets, including information about a breastfeeding support group a short walk from my home in north London. Later that evening, I dig them out, and make an appointment for the next available session.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent appeal so new mums living in poverty can be trained how to breastfeed

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How a vegetable garden changed my life

This Lent you may have heard about Tawanda from Zimbabwe and how hungry he was as a child. You may have heard how CAFOD helped Marian to plant a vegetable garden and how Tawanda’s little brother Svondo grew up with plenty of good food. But what happened to Tawanda?

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Tawanda. I’m 21 years old and I live in Gokwe North District with my mum, dad, two brothers and little sister.

What was your childhood like?

When I was younger, I remember being so desperate, we’d eat anything. We ate roasted groundnuts with sadza. It’s not something I’d recommend. It’s like eating salt.

What are you doing now?

I have my own vegetable plot at the community vegetable garden. I farm the plot so I can sell vegetables to buy things like clothes and shoes. I enjoy working on the plot – it’s my only way of earning money.

Donate to CAFOD so more people like Tawanda can have the chance to plant their own vegetable garden in Zimbabwe

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Can £28 really stop a family going hungry?

Sally Kitchener, from CAFOD’s communications team, recently visited Zimbabwe. She tells us how hearing a mother’s story about hunger affected her.  She also shares some good news about vegetable gardens and invites you to help tackle malnutrition by donating to the CAFOD Lent Appeal.

A few months ago, I met Marian Magumise in her home in rural Zimbabwe. After packing the children off to school just after dawn, Marian invited me to sit in her cooking hut. The embers from the fire were still warm and the smell of porridge hung in the air.

Marian told me that she hasn’t always been able to give her children a meal before school. In fact, there have been countless times – months on end – when she has had not an oat or a grain to feed them.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

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Stopping shopping for Lent

Jeremy, from our Hallam volunteer centre, has never considered himself a ‘shopaholic’. But a shiny new camera lens and a letter from the bank led him to wonder – is there more he could be doing to fight back against the culture of consumption?

I had a shock a few weeks back. For once it wasn’t the emptiness of my bank account, though that was the catalyst. Instead, I was surprised, and a little dismayed, by my powerful attachment to possessions.

A vulture in flight photographed from below by Jeremy Cain
One of Jeremy’s photos – he calls this one ‘a vulture hovering over my bank account’

Let me explain. I’m an occasionally keen amateur photographer and, as we’re planning to visit Mull after Easter, I thought it would be a good idea to buy myself a zoom lens. We’re mostly going for the birds of prey and I had dreams of getting the perfect shot of a sea eagle plucking a fish out from the water. I’d spent days scouring the internet and was on the verge of clicking the buy-it-now button when the bad news from the bank came through. Just for a moment, I was tempted to click anyway but the thought of having to explain to the kids why we had no food to eat held me back. They can be quite aggressive when they’re hungry.

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My Lenten digital detox – giving up Netflix for Lent

Fr Tim Byron SJ, from Stamford Hill is taking a digital detox and has given up Netflix for Lent. He updates us on his #GiveItUpChallenge.

So far so good. It has been surprisingly easy to wean myself off Netflix in the evening and I’m no longer suffering from excessive binge-watching.

Share your Lent challenge on Twitter

However, having allowed Lent to interrupt a couple of my favourite dramas, I do find myself wondering how Jimmy McGill is going to get himself out of his most recent pickle in Better Call Saul. Or when Carrie Mathison is going to be reunited with her daughter in Homeland. Continue reading “My Lenten digital detox – giving up Netflix for Lent”

Fast to go slow: how fasting can transform you this Lent

Susy works in the CAFOD Theology team. Although she hasn’t always looked forward to fasting, this year she is going vegan for Lent. Here she tells us how she thinks fasting for Lent can transform her, and her relationships.

Fasting. The word doesn’t fill most people with joy. I know for me there has often been a slight dread about fasting. It is not something to look forward to, is it? Eating less, maybe giving something up that we enjoy. A sacrifice – surely it will be painful?

Follow CAFOD on twitter for tips on how to keep going with your Lenten fast.

I think though, like anything else, how we view fasting, how we approach it, makes an awful lot of difference to the experience. When I was much younger there was a short time in my life when I fasted on bread and water once a week. I would get splitting headaches and I was always very relieved when the day was over. I saw it as perhaps helping in my relationship with God, but I don’t remember making any connections with those who struggle to have bread and water every day.

Having worked at CAFOD for fifteen years now, I see fasting in a different light. I also have a much more positive attitude towards it – it is actually something I can look forward to! Why? For four main reasons. I feel fasting can help transform me in four areas – in my relationship with God, in my relationship with others, with creation and with myself. Here’s how I see it:

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A message to all those preparing to fast

Promise Simwinde Muleya works for one of our Caritas partners in Zimbabwe. As thousands of people across England and Wales prepare for CAFOD’s Family Fast Day, Promise shares a message of solidarity.

From Zimbabwe to you

To all those that are taking part in the Lent campaign, I have a special message to all of you.

I say to you, appealingly, imagine and remember the children and the breastfeeding mothers in Zimbabwe who hardly have a meal to eat each day.

Donate to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

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A fruity challenge this Lent

We are Hal and Cherrie from London based east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse.

Hal Bangalore from Ooberfuse
Giving up all hot food and drinks to support CAFOD #GiveItUpChallenge

Hal could not really think of many specific food items that start with “H” aside from ham, hamburgers and halloumi so he thought he would just go for all “Hot” food and “Hot” drinks. This will be a real daily challenge as Hal loves his hot tea and drinks tea at least 7 times a day!

Cherrie is giving up cherries this Lent!
Cherrie is giving up cherries this Lent!

Cherrie will give up all food starting with ‘CH’ – CHicken, CHocolate, CHeese, CHips and CHerries etc.

She absolutely loves chocolates – she is a certified chocoholic, so the #Giveitupchallenge will be a tough everyday challenge for Lent. Usually post gigs and rehearsals, we all go out for fried chicken and chips, so this will be something that will need to change too.

Why we are taking this challenge this Lent

We are happy to be part of the #Giveitupchallenge as an act of solidarity, to help raise funds and help support families living in poverty overseas

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