Exercising my right to vote…speechlessly??

I am now about 19 hours into the Famine Weekend, which means I’m almost half way through my food/furniture/facebook fast yet still have a while to go until I’m close to finding my voice again! I’ve raised $620 so far, so won’t be speaking until midnight on Sunday!

This post will give you a quick rundown on things I’ve done today, and I’ll also share some of the stories and videos from kids this money I’ve raised will be supporting.

I won’t lie, I’ve accidentally said something a few times today so I’ll be adding some extra minutes onto my ever growing talking fast. When someone talks to you quickly, the natural instinct is to quickly respond! So I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot today!

This morning I woke up after a pretty restless sleep on the floor – but I was reminded of the fact that this is really nothing in comparison to the millions of children that sleep outside on the ground (hmm.. maybe next year’s Famine?) On my recent trip to Ghana I often sadly saw this type of living condition – so it is definitely these kids which are inspiring me to put up with it!

Headed off with mum to vote after a simple breakfast of apple juice (woohoo!) Surprisingly didn’t feel hungry at all… but I was definitely hungry to have my first ever vote! We drove to the local primary school where I took leaflets from all the volunteers in an attempt to be a bit diplomatic! Mum spoke for me as I had my name marked off the roll and then I leant against the cardboard booth (I didn’t see this as counting as furniture!) to vote. Mum finished and went out before me, so I had a few awkward smiles with the lady minding the ballot boxes and she tried to talk to me – must’ve thought I was so rude! Left the school walking past the Sausage Sizzle as the delicious smell of a fresh sausage sanga filled the air and started to make me a bit hungry! Think I’ll have to go for a BBQ when I finish the food famine! Got mum to take a quick snap of me outside the school – people must’ve though I was a crazy political nut, excited about my first time voting. Whilst perhaps this is a little true – little did they know I’d just voted without saying a single word!

Whilst I was voiceless as I voted, I was reminded of just how lucky I am that I still have a vote and thought about the millions of people that unfortunately don’t live in a democratic country like I’m fortunate to live in. I also thought about many people not even knowing that it is their RIGHT to vote because they haven’t been educated. Where’s the voice in that?

After voting, jumped in the car to head down to Parramatta for my dentist appointment. Polling booths were alive and kicking today – queues and BBQS everywhere you looked! Parked at Westfield to do a quick shop with Mum before my appointment, where mum explained to a salesperson in Toys’R’Us why I was just awkwardly nodding an smiling as she spoke to me. On another note – I saw a terribly disturbing toy there today – plastic McDonald’s food – it saddened me that food like that has become so much a part of our lives that kids even play with it too! It made me think about the millions of kids this money will be helping that don’t even have nutritious food, let alone junk food to eat.

Arrived at the dentist where again, my Mum explained what I was doing. Were told to have a seat whilst we waited… which I accidentally did much to my horror! Upon realising I was on a seat I quickly hopped onto the floor. Oops! It makes you realise just how easy and accessible everything is to us, and just how difficult it is in our society to go without something. Had a conversation with mum using my whiteboard, she’s being very patient with me, and also enjoys talking at me as I have nothing to say back!

The dentist called and I had a lovely Irish man (LOVED the accent!) who gave me a quick check-up, as mum gave another explanation! My teeth were all good so I gave the thumbs up sign and did a lot of ‘mmms’ and mmhmms’! Was wished luck on my attempts by the dentist and receptionist, and headed out happy that I didn’t have to get more than a check up done! As I sat in the dentist chair though, again I was reminded just how lucky we are to have such wonderful healthcare in Australia. Having your teeth looked at is a luxury in the developing world, but to us it’s an often avoidable chore! I encourage you to appreciate the healthcare that we do have in this country next time you’re at the dentist/doctor/optometrist yourself! Mum took a quick snap of me again with my whiteboard “Been to the dentist without talking!”

Next stop was Gloria Jeans where I enjoyed a tea (yes I’m still determined to stick to the rules of the famine!) with Mum as she sat in her comfy armchair and I sat on the floor. Was unusual feeling sitting on the ground of a cafe (and I felt rather awkward as people looked at me confused) but I’ve enjoyed doing the Famine in absolutely every single context I can today – it makes it all the more challenging and rewarding!

After GJ’s, I completed a voiceless transaction at a shop as I bought a jacket. “Hi! How are you” – Smile – “Savings?” – Nod – “Have a nice day!” – Awkward Smile. I felt absolutely terrible not being able to say thank you or ask her about herself. It shows just how much you need a voice!

Ventured home on a silent trip with mum as she talked at me and I attempted signing to her. I think I’m getting pretty good at acting things out this weekend – maybe you can verse me in Charades some time!

Right now I’ve just had quick power nap as I was feeling very tired after a pretty shocking sleep last night… and I’m starting to feel some hunger pangs!

I’m about to go do my weekly chore of ironing – whilst sitting on the floor – wonder how this will go!

Before I finish, here are some links to the stories of kids this money will be helping. I hope you are both moved, inspired and encouraged to take action (and sponsor me!) after hearing their powerful stories amidst the Global Food Crisis.

To watch videos about the Famine visit the 40 Hour Famine Videos page – I’d encourage you to watch the videos about Sarita, Lalu and Sami, and also the Global Food Crisis video which explains the crisis in much easier terms!

Lastly – don’t forget to sponsor me!  

Until tonight (after a speechless Trivia Night and 21st!!!)

Speechless for 35 more hours,

Caitlin

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