Faculty Member Takes on Slave Diet
I am Kay Burrough (Firth-Butterfield) and, along with Dr. Mity Myhr, we will teach workshops as part of Cultural Foundations 3330 and 3331 this fall. Our theme is modern slavery and human trafficking. In our discussions we have wondered how we will be able to help our students understand what it feels like to be a slave. When I read the below excerpt in Kevin Bales’ book, I knew I could help with a small part of that answer.
“What’s it like being an Indian farm labourer in debt bondage? You can get a sense of their daily life by trying the following…” starts a Chapter of Disposable People by Kevin Bales about the life of a slave in India today. In this chapter, he discusses a slave diet which ties directly back to our course’s theme of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Starting on Aug. 9, I’m going to go on the Slave Diet for as long as I am well and my nutritionist approves. I am going to try to stick with this until we start the fall semester. Of course, there will be slight differences. I have been advised to take multi-vitamins. So, I must start preparing myself now. No more sugar cookies with my tea at 11 a.m.
In his book, Bales continues with exact specifications of what a slave farmer and his family eat. And, I will follow his guidelines. “Fill up a coffee mug four times with rice or wheat. Now feed a family of five for one day with the grain you have measured out.”
Bales says that depending upon the size of your children, you will get about a third of a cup of rice at each meal, or as much unleavened bread as you can make from your wheat and share between you. Every two weeks half of the rice or grain is replaced by lentils or beans.
You can add to this diet, for example anything you can forage – like dandelions and nettles. Also, he encourages you to buy or barter if you have to have something other than rice, wheat, lentils or beans. So, after a day of labor, you will need to tend your one acre to grow crops, raise chickens or, if you are supremely lucky, feed your cow. Of course, there will be slight differences with each individual on this diet. For example, I have a vegetable garden and chickens but not have an acre to grow crops.
I will cut down my general food intake until Aug. 9 and then start. I will keep you posted!
Schedule of CULF Workshops
- Sept. 27: 5-8 p.m.
- Oct. 7: 5-8 p.m.
- Oct. 18: 5-8 p.m. (Judy Westwater, author of Street Kid will speak)
- Oct. 24: 2-5 p.m. (Judy Westwater will be speak)
- Nov. 2: 5-8 p.m.
- Nov. 6: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Nov. 12: 2-5 p.m. (Ron Soodalter, co-author with Kevin Bales, of The Slave Next Door will speak)
- Nov. 17: 5-8 p.m.
I am keeping a more regular blog of my days and efforts, so please do follow; I need support in the dark days ahead! This work is part of my commitment to service both as part of the St. Edward’s University initiatives and in the local and global community.
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