finger-licking: Dr Wayne Kublalsingh bites into a mango at his home in Claxton Bay yesterday.

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Wayne breaks fast with stale mango

By Renuka Singh

A six-month-old mango forgotten in a refrigerator was the first thing environmental activist Dr Wayne Kublalsingh ate as he broke his 21-day-long hunger strike late on Wednesday night.

Kublalsingh, in a telephone interview yesterday, said he also drank a glass of water sweetened with three tablespoons of honey.

"It tasted great; I needed that sugar," he said.

"The water didn't really taste that good, but that mango? I lick that down so fast," he said with a quiet laugh.

Kublalsingh began a hunger strike in front of the Prime Minister's office in St Clair on November 16 and ended it on Wednesday, only after accepting the reworked terms of reference for the works on the Debe to Mon Desir section of the highway.

For three weeks, Kublalsingh refused to eat or drink anything until the Government gave an undertaking to review that contentious section of the billion-dollar project.

Kublalsingh was taken to the St Clair Medical Centre soon after he finished his mango and kept on intravenous (IV) fluids overnight. By midday yesterday, the activist was ready to go home.

"I didn't need to be there," he said.

Kublalsingh said though doctors discouraged him from eating solid foods too early, soon after being discharged, he ate watermelon and pawpaw as he settled in his family's private home in south Trinidad.

"Doctors said I would react badly, that I would throw up, but I feel fine," he said.

"I am surprised at what my body withstood. I thought I would last three or four days, but after that fourth day, I realised I did not even feel for the food or water anymore," he said.

Kublalsingh's doctors ran a battery of tests, and while the results surprised them, he said he expected what he saw.

"They found no visible evidence of organ damage. Doctors were surprised, but I don't think I am so surprised by that," he said.

"I use meditation a lot, and during the time I was there, I took very deep breaths and oxygenated my organs; that is very important," he said.

The family issued a statement soon after Kublalsingh was discharged, thanking the nation for the "love and support".

But while that support was evident by the numerous visitors, Kublalsingh also had many detractors who claimed he could not have survived for three weeks on just part-time maintenance by IV fluids.

"There are a lot of cynics, but I think a lot of people in this country are looking for something to believe in, something they can have faith and belief in, and I have a deep sense of faith in the universe," he said.

Kublalsingh admitted to being "more spiritual than religious" and was confident that prayer had a big part to play in his endurance.

"Prayer is very important, and this action has brought me closer to that universal power. I see some people start off not believing and gradually become a believer and accept that power of belief," he said.

When asked what fed that strength of conviction, Kublalsingh said he knew he was never going to give up and accepted early on that he was willing to die for his cause.

"I have bad mind," he said with a laugh, "I knew I was not going to give up and kept that idea in my mind all the time," he said.

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