In the 1998 food crisis in Rumbek county, South Sudan, Dinka mothers began voluntarily to remove their malnourished children from Oxfam's therapeutic feeding programs. This article explains how the incident has led Oxfam to re-examine its ideas about food aid in the region and to take a fresh look at Dinka ideas of need. It was shown that Dinka ideas of vulnerability do not always coincide with the norm when it comes to food aid distribution. Dinka life revolves around the cattle, which provide milk for the children and the elderly. Thus, they believed that a child whose family or clan has sufficient cattle should not need special attention, even if they happen to be thin occasionally. In view of this, Oxfam decided that the best way forward was to discuss these issues and set up a workshop of women and men involving food decision making. In the workshop, Oxfam explained the purposes and outcomes of giving food to the malnourished, or the ¿weak¿ as the Dinka termed it and this became a negotiation over feeding attendance. It was finally agreed that the chiefs would allow ¿weak¿ children to receive double rations, on the condition that Oxfam discuss the issues with the World Food Programme.