Eating Grass, and other challenges.
Elspeth Dugdale | May 1, 2021
Despite many trendy blogs & articles about foraging and making nettle soup, humans are not supposed to eat grass as part of a regular diet. So why would anyone actually eat grass?
As lockdown lifted, a former WTA student, (now at university), recounted over a Zoom call about uni life, that some of his student colleagues had resorted to eat grass to supplement the donated food handouts of maize and beans.
This took place during the strict lockdown in Uganda, before the harvest came and while students were literally stuck at home for months on end. I asked Ivan if he had made the right decision to stay alone in his university hostel instead of going back to the village with his friends when the university closed. On balance, he concluded that the loneliness and isolation of staying was better than being reduced to eat grass in the village.
After 12 months of total school & university closure for most students, very many were expected to spend the time contributing to family agricultural work, ('digging'), each day, which leaves little or no daylight time for study. In rural areas, very few families have electricity for evening light. For many parents, the long months of little or no income mean there has been little money left for school fees. Furlough schemes and state support simply do not exist. Often a parent is forced to make an agonising choice - to choose to send back only one student in the family, perhaps the exam candidate, perhaps the eldest son, perhaps the ‘bright’ one. As a result, often girls get left behind. And that is another challenge on its own.
Students are genuinely delighted to be able to get back to schools and universities, partly because of the long months of missed education and partly to meet up with friends, but many are simply relieved knowing they will now be sure of three meals a day – none of which will contain grass.
One WTA student, Janan writes:” Being back at school is like a blessing in my life and will ensure a brighter future. I can’t imagine a life with no education.”