The 40 Hour Famine

Meet Burtukan. She is a small, unassuming girl, perhaps the same age as some of your children, 7 years old. But instead of learning how to read and write, playing sports with other kids, she is cleaning her dry little hut while her mother works from dawn till dusk to make 80c a day.

While other parents plan birthday parties and outings to the zoo with their kids, Burtukan’s mother plans on how she will feed her family of four more than one piece of flatbread a day, meagre and unfulfilling to the pangs of hunger.

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Click On Image For Source

What does a 7 year old dream about? Going to the moon, riding unicorns, meeting Buzz Lightyear. They don’t have to grow up fast, they don’t have any worries. The food comes to their table at least 3 times a day, their parents work. Such a simple concept.
Burtukan is growing up fast, helping her family out while forgetting childhood and dreaming of Cafe Share which she runs on a daily basis, serving sips of water in bottle tops and leaves as biscuits to her fellow neighbours with the Ethiopian sun beating down on their backs.

Ethiopia’s food prices are rising steadily, while the meagre limited income remains the same. Burtukan is one of the 4.5 million people starving in Ethiopia today. She is just a child. A child who doesn’t have medicine, education and above all, enough food. Not even close… Your children, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews are so smiley, so bouncy, so content. Don’t all children deserve that?


The 40 Hour Famine program is run annually, where people give up an important part of their life for just 40 hours, something so many underprivileged people live without. Each year, this program aims to send out relief to various third world countries, in the hope of making a difference, changing people’s lives

This year, the chosen country, as you have seen is Ethiopia, ravaged by famine.
I have done the 40 hr famine for 3 years now, this being my 4th. In the past I have given up furniture, talking and technology but food is my staple, something always give up.

world vision5I am currently not eating, living off milk, juice and water, but when I think about my stomach rumbling, it reminds me that children half my age are living like this for weeks on end, with no sustenance except the odd drop of fresh water.

I decided to challenge myself even more this year, and bake while on famine, pushing my own boundaries. And it was hard. I cannot even begin to describe how it feels when the smell of freshly baked goods hits you, how you have to wash the batter of your fingers and spoon instead of licking it, how you have to be careful not to eat the crumbs while cutting it.

world vision11But it is all for a worthy cause. People who participate in the famine, they are sponsored by people around them. If any of you can, even if it is just loose change of a dollar, please donate to this worthy cause. If not sponsor me, sponsor people you may know doing it, get involved and spread the word.

To check out more about this, here are some details:

Who knows, perhaps next year, you can set up a group and join it too? 🙂

world vision2If anyone would like to sponsor me as well, it would be much appreciated – only a dollar and it goes a long way for this cause – If you desire, check out my page link here and follow the ‘Donate’ instructions *Thank you* 🙂


So, what did I bake? I thought perhaps after my mudcake-brownie-banana bread explosion, you all may want a toned down version, so I made the original banana bread but from a fantastic Cordon Bleu cookbook, I was lucky enough to be given as a gift (thank you Aunty S!!!) – this gastronomy school from France has a branch in Sydney so who knows… maybe one day… 😉

While writing this post, I have not tasted the banana bread and have not been able to compare it with my usual banana bread but I will be reviewing this cookbook, a new element I plan to add to blogging, after making a couple other of its delicious desserts, so I can add that in there.

world vision 6My family told me it was absolutely delicious, which I was so happy to hear – it has a soft, crumby texture as opposed to the denseness that is usually found, and seems a bit more like the method for a banana cake as opposed to a bread…well at least it allegedly tastes good no?

NB: Because I will be reviewing this cookbook, I am not changing any of the recipes but after making it, of course I have suggestions, so I have bolded them in the recipe

Link to book:

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Cordon Bleu’s Banana Bread

Preparation: 20 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6-8


  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 160g butter, room temperature (melted or browned)
  • 230g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe mashed bananas (large)
    world vision8

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts/pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and flour (line) baking loaf tin
  2. Sift together flour, spice(s), baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a bowl
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the essence
  5. Mix in the mashed banana and stir till combined
  6. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth
  7. Pour the mixture (spoon and smooth) into the bake tin and bake in upper half of the oven for 45 minutes or until top is coloured and sides start to pull away from tin. Cover the top of cake with aluminium foil if the top is going too brown. A skewer inserted should come out clean.
  8. Allow to cool 5 minutes (10 minutes) until removing and cooling on a wire rack

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Just before leaving you all, I also wanted to say a huge thank you for all your wonderful birthday wishes from the 13th my friends, thank you so much 😀

You made me feel so special  on my 17th birthday and truly, highlighted it this year 🙂 🙂

Also, it seems I have lost around 60-70 followers for unknown reasons 😦 – If anyone finds they are not receiving posts, please resubscribe – Dodgy happenings 😛

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  4. Tisa says:

    Really good Uru, I don’t know how I missed this post. I love World Vision, it is a wonderful organzation. Thanks for doing what you do and getting the word out there. Bless you and what you’re making out of your study time.


  5. I have such respect for you. You must make your parents very proud. If my teenage son did something like you are doing, I would be very happy indeed and you are so right that we need to focus on those in need. It’s so ridiculous that there is such a huge vast difference between our lives and the lives of many starving people. I went right to your link and donated this weekend. Thank you sweetie! 🙂 Bread looks amazing of course.


    • Thank you so much my friend, I received the notification and was actually over the moon – this means a lot to me and to world vision 🙂
      I hope you received my email of thanks, I did think it was you and your generosity 🙂

      Many hugs


  6. Becky says:

    You are such and amazing girl, and it’s so heartwarming to see you so passionate about the 40 hr Famine. Thank you for raising the awareness of this cause. .


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  8. Alice says:

    Baking while doing 40 hour famine? How daring! What a great cause you’re supporting. I feel inspired 🙂

    Happy belated birthday too! And thanks for following us on Facebook!


  9. Swathi says:

    Uru, You are a brave girl, doing great thing making awareness . It is tough to live without food. That girl has cute smile.

    Your banana bread calling my name. We are fan of banana bread. It is really sad that you are baking and not eating it.


  10. Uru…you are just an amazing young lady. Such a wonderful sacrifice you are making for such a worthwhile cause. It was my honor to sponsor you! (psst…about that thing you made….it looks amazing and I hope it tastes all the sweeter when your 40 hours is up!)


  11. Suzi says:

    How wonderful you are Uri, such a great cause, thanks for bringing this awareness here. I won’t say anything about the you know what, LOL. Take care my friend and drink lots of water too.


  12. Becky says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, you really are an amazing young woman and a wonderful roll model. We all could learn from your example to do our part.

    On top of all that, you made a beautiful recipe! 🙂


  13. Very very touching post, and good reminder that sometimes we need to share and help. You are strong girl and don’t we all appreciate more what’s on our table after we see this. Your recipe is fantastic…I hope you are doing well!


  14. Beth says:

    What a great cause, and I’m so impressed that you can bake while not eating! The closest I’ve come to that was hosting a Christmas dinner for my family while I was on a very strict diet (for medical reasons, short-lived thank goodness). But at least I could eat something!

    Sounds like you are a truly caring person, and thank you for the kindness you are passing along.


  15. Lisa says:

    I’m so glad you shared this cause with us..I think we all take for granted how plentiful our lives are as far as food, nutrition and health goes. You do have a heart of gold 🙂 Your banana bread looks phenomenal…love the lighter, golden color than the usual banana bread!


  16. Suzie says:

    Thank you for sharing a great cause. You have a good heart. I don’t know how you made that bread without eating and a rumbling stomach. I’m sure it was good as your family pointed out.


  17. jen laceda says:

    You are a good person, Uru! Every day, I pray and give thanks that we always have something to eat. Whenever my kids complain about food, I make sure to remind them of the many starving children around the world. One of my rules at home is: Never complain about food! I will definitely show this post to my kids 🙂


  18. Veronica says:

    I do know what it is like to not even allower yourself a lick of the spoon when baking because I have done the same thing while on a very strict diet and yes, it killed, but I didn’t have the added bonus of knowing I was doing it for a good cause. How wonderful-much kudos to you. You will have to bake yourself something really decadent when the 40 hours is up. 🙂


  19. Blackswan says:

    I’m so happy to be connected with such a kind soul. Kudos to u, dear! Wonderful inspiration. Uru, just wondering if you’re having problems with commenting in my blog since you’ve posted twice. Thks for all your support!


  20. Well done, Uru! It’s so sad to see countries around the world (even in modern countries) that people live like this for their daily lives. Raising awareness and fasting is such a great thing to do.

    It must’ve been super hard for you to visit others’ blogs while you have been fasting.


  21. Zoe says:

    Uru, Although you are young in person but very “mature” and kind in your thoughts. A very lovely intention and I wish all the best for this good cause 😀


  22. Katerina says:

    This is a very thoughtful post! I have never heard of the 40hr famine concept but it sure is a good way to try and feel just a little how these people feel. You also tried to make it even harder for you by baking as well! Both your cake and you are adorable!


  23. kathleen1richardson says:

    Thank you for bringing the 40-hour famine to my attention. I had never heard of it. It breaks my heart to think of so many people starving. A well-needed reminder to stay aware and to know that every little bit helps.


  24. mjskit says:

    Thank you for introducing us to 40 hour famine. I’ve never heard of it. You really do like to tempt yourself don’t you? 🙂 Baking a delicious bread while your not eating? Crazy girl!!!!


  25. Thanks for posting this and reminding me of the programme. It’s something I would want to do as well. The banana cake looks very well done. It’s a simple recipe, but I can see that it has a beautifully moist texture.


  26. A wonderful thing to do Chocy, well done you! It’s so important to remember just how lucky we are – thank you !
    And your banana bread looks delicious, I love it, and I’m loving the addition of th enuts on top.


  27. Ramona says:

    Young lady, If I wasn’t already so very impressed with you… I AM NOW! You are an amazing human being and what you are doing for this cause is eye opening. Our children are spoiled and I always make them aware that there are children out there the don’t have their basic needs met. It’s a sad fact that we live in a world that children go hungry. Thank you for bringing this cause to our attention. You’re always brave to bake and tempt yourself while fasting. You did an amazing job. Well done my friend. 🙂


    • My mum teaches me the same thing my friend- I can defnitely relate, we cannot bear to waste food knowing a child could have it – thank you very very much for so much support 🙂

      Choc Chip Uru


  28. Eva Taylor says:

    We don’t hear much about Ethiopia any more; it’s strange because 25 years ago it was in the news at least a few times a month. It’s a lovely thing that you’re doing CCU. I wish you good luck. I hope your family saved you a puce of that delicious looking bread.


  29. Spoon Feast says:

    The world needs more people like you. Thank you for inspiring and bringing awareness to things we can do something about by getting involved.
    Everyone should be involved in something that brings about a better planet.

    After all, we all live here and we all have a responsibility, whether we live up to it or not.


  30. hotlyspiced says:

    What a beautiful looking girl. I love her smile. I used to do the 40-hour famine every year too. I couldn’t wait to wake up on the Sunday morning knowing it was just a few hours before the 40 hours was up. Congrats on getting involved in the program for the 3rd year (or is it 4th?) Amazing how you can be in the kitchen let alone bake during this time xx


    • That feeling certainly is the best in the world my friend, I am so glad schools have been making groups for it otherwise it would be much harder to get the chance 😀
      It was difficult but Burtukan’s story gets you through 🙂

      Choc Chip Uru


  31. Saguna says:

    What a wonderfully inspiring post… I used to do a thirty hour famine as well in high school- it is so tough! Thanks for reminding us all of giving back and looking beyond our own needs and walks of life.


  32. glamorous glutton says:

    Congratulations on raising our awareness of the plight of these people. We all know there’s a problem but it’s easy here in our homes of plenty to forget. The 40 hour famine is a great idea but I’m not sure I could bake whilst just sipping water. GG


  33. Starr says:

    Thanks for featuring this worthy cause… It’s easy, when we have so much, to forget that there are people who have so little… Keep up the great work!

    By the way, I think you’re crazy for baking when fasting! I have baked without tasting a couple of times (way back when I was using up the last of my non-vegan baking supplies), and wow was that hard!


  34. ceciliag says:

    Bugger. i used to ALWAYs do the 40 hour famine! next year promise to tell me ahead of time, or maybe i should just start right now.. i will start right now.. no banana bread for me!! c


  35. Love this post! I just returned from Ethiopia about a month ago! It was my first time there, and I was unprepared for the overwhelming poverty I would encounter. I even experienced a “food mob” of children trampling one another for a bite of food. It changed me. I have a whole new perspective on life and how Christians are called to live as servants to the poor.


  36. Balvinder says:

    My daughter also does 30 hour famine every year in April for world Vision. She and some of her friends live only on water, they were allowed to take a bowl of boiled rice one time but the girls were really serious and did not have anything other than water. God bless you with this fund raise. You did great job by challenging yourself by baking and not eating. Bravo!!!


  37. viveka says:

    Uru, you are some unique brave young woman and the bread I will try … promise. Love bananas and I love your commitment to the cause – I really do.
    Have my own commitment – I only drink one kind of Swedish mineral water – Ramlösa, probably the best mineral water in the world *smile – because for every liter of water they sell they give one liter fresh water to needed in Africa through the Red Cross. 60million gallons fresh water they give away every year.
    Have done a post about Ramlösa if you are interested – you have to watch the video link – so funny.


    • Thank you so much my friend – and I promise, this bread will drive you ‘bananas’ ;), it is so good!
      I think what you are doing is a fantastic gesture – so many people would not even think of this – it is a fantastic cause! 😀
      Thanks for the link as well, I will check it out 🙂

      Choc Chip Uru


      • viveka says:

        In all honesty – they don’t scream load enough about their cause -I wouldn’t know about the water project if I hadn’t done my post and had to dig out some information about Ramlösa. It’s such an easy help to give, because I love the mineral water.


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