January 31, 2021
“If curiosity killed the cat, it was satisfaction that brought it back.” ― Holly Black, Tithe
Author’s Note: I got involved in this discussion because media brought Muluwork Ambaw’s claim to the public’s attention. The purpose of this article is to share my research on Muluwork’s assertion that her body evolved thirteen years ago. Since then, it has been capable of nourishing its own cells without consuming food and water. But still her living soul, which has been both a media and tourist attraction since about 2016, has to work hard to satisfy its other basic needs, including shelter, clothing and social.
To start with, I like to take this opportunity to express my heart felt appreciation to the media and all the people who have been involved in making Muluwork’s claim more known by people across the world, including Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed and some of his foreign dignitaries.
Muluwork, a twenty-three-year-old Ethiopian lady, says she lost her desire and need for food and drinks out of the blue, when she was a ten year old girl. She also says she remembers the last bite that “passed her lips”. She said it was a red lentils stew with injera (in Amharic it is called mesir wat with injera) which is a typical meal in most Ethiopian households, Fana Television’s YouTube Channel (Fana), state-owned media, reported Ambaw’s claim on January 17, 2021.
In other words, the last meal she had was mesir wat with injera that was thirteen years ago, in her tween year.
Verywell Family said that “Dramatic physical, mental, and social changes take place during the tween years…”
According to Fana, Muluwork is healthy and fit. She leads a normal life, among other things, she works; she cooks food for others, and she goes where she wants to go on foot or by other means of transportation. She also socializes, including cooking for a party with a group of people and going to a party.
Fana also stated that, to verify her claim, she received a full physical exam at a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her doctors gave her a clean bill of health, but they noted except for gas there was no food, water and waste products in her digestive tract – which indicated she didn’t “need to urinate or defecate”. And they advised her to seek further medical examination oversees, in a developed country.
“The digestive tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. It consists of the following: Mouth, Esophagus, Stomach, Small intestine, Large intestine (includes the colon and rectum) and Anus…” according to Stanford Children’s Health.
It is obvious to this writer that she breathes, though I’m not aware whether she sweats. A question that begs to be answered is that how she replenishes the water she loses through breathing.
Science says “we [humans] typically lose four to nine cups of water per day, through breathing, sweating, peeing and pooping. If we do not drink enough to quench our thirst, the costs can be high. The symptoms of dehydration range from tiredness, headaches and muscle weakness to rapid heartbeat and ultimately loss of consciousness.”
Fana said Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed and some of his foreign dignitaries met Muluwork the week of January 11, 2021. And for her further medical examination in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the PM’s office has started a travel process for her. Based upon this information, it appears that his foreign dignitaries were curious about her claim. For that they are assisting the Ethiopian government in sending her to Dubai for further medical examinations.
For perspective, what the science say about surviving without food?
Scientific American stated that “The duration of survival without food is greatly influenced by factors such as body weight, genetic variation, other health considerations and, most importantly, the presence or absence of dehydration.”
“For total starvation in healthy individuals receiving adequate hydration, reliable data on survival are hard to obtain. At the age of 74 and already slight of build, Mahatma Gandhi, the famous nonviolent campaigner for India’s independence, survived 21 days of total starvation while only allowing himself sips of water.”
The BBC’s article titled “Who, What, Why: How long can someone survive without food?” stated that Dr. Mike Stroud, senior lecturer of Medicine and Nutrition at Southampton University, said … “it was possible to survive 60 days without food.”
“That is about the time hunger strikers in prisons tend to die,” said Stroud. “But they are normally in warmer conditions.” According the article, “In 1981, Republican prisoner Bobby Sands died in Northern Ireland’s Maze prison after a hunger strike lasting 66 days.”
Lastly, the author didn’t find a research project/team/grant/paper regarding a living thing being able to survive without food or water; this could indicate researchers think that it is a fruitless effort. Moreover, the writer learned that countless people who made such an unrealistic assertion that they didn’t need food and water for their survival turned out to be village fraudsters, including an Indian man who is called Prahlad Jani (“Mataji”).
Mataji asserted, “after he became a follower of the Hindu goddess Amb, the goddess has sustained him [,for 70+ years,] by feeding him with a life giving invisible ‘elixir’, which has supposedly given him the strength to continue without food or water”, according to Daily Mail, . An Indian doctor called Dr. Shah was in charge of investigating Mataji and two other similar claims; Shah never allowed anyone to independently verify his investigations, Daily Mail said.
I’m glad that people are giving Muluwork the benefit of the doubt. I cannot wait to hear about the findings of her doctors who would examine her in Dubai, UAE. If they confirm her assertion that she survived without food and water, it will be miraculous information for humanity. Then humanity’s next challenge could be to understand how her body nourishes its cells and obtains its energy without consuming food and water.
If she turned out to be a village trickster like those who came before her across the world, I would have to admit that she is a better fraudster than those I read about, including Prahlad Jani (“Mataji”), the over seventy-years-old Indian trickster. His defense for his assertion (fraud) was a divine intervention. Since Muluwork didn’t need to claim a divine intervention for her trick, she is a much better fraudster than Mataji, in my view.
I dedicated this article to my late younger brother, Fekade Demissie, who passed away in a tragic car accident when he was a teenager. I dedicated the piece to him because soon after he moved to the USA he realized more the effort, time and money he needed to survive. So once, to express his newer understanding of the challenges of life and his higher degree of appreciation and recognition of his parent’s efforts when they were raising him, he told his mom, over the telephone, that the first thing he would get rid of from his body parts, if he could, was his stomach (he meant his appetite).
The writer, LJDemissie, can be reached at LJDemissie@yahoo.com