This year I took part in the Ration Challenge run by Act for Peace.
The Challenge was to eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee for one week. The rations included small amounts of rice, flour, lentils, chick peas, beans, fish and oil. The ration pack was delivered to my door by Act for Peace. The pack came with recipes and guidelines on how to get the most out of your rations.
Over 12,000 people did the challenge and raised over $2million. The money raised provides food, medicine and education for refugees.
It was more difficult than I expected, the food was not very much and I was glad I had a quiet work week. I was hungry and light headed a lot of the time.
The first day I had a caffeine headache. Thankfully that only lasted one day.
It was interesting to have to work out the amounts of food I could cook each day to ensure I didn’t run out of food by the end of the week. By day 3 I thought I was going to run out so had to be very careful with the portions. It would have been a disaster to spill the rations or burn anything (which I did).
There wasn’t enough for 3 meals a day so 2 meals a day it was. A basic meal was rice (mainly rice) and some kind of pulse or bean. There was very little flavor in anything and the hardest thing for me – no fruit or vegetables. I don’t think I have ever gone a day without fruit or vege in my life.
Day 5 was the hardest. I didn’t have much energy, my mind was quite foggy. I’d eat my rations for the day and still feel hungry. It barely touched the sides. I kept thinking that I’d have to eat only what I had portioned (and not any more) or I’d have nothing on day 7.
I’m glad this challenge was of my choosing. I do not want to think about not having the choice to have food whenever I want, in the variety we have. What would be worse, having to care for a family in these conditions. It’s heart breaking.
It made me reflect on how much we have. Never have I really been hungry, needed to decide how to make food last, only had water to drink (no tea or coffee). Never really been overly concerned about waste or food going bad. Never needing to find ways to stretch things out.
It made me reflect on the plight of refugees. People escaping from war, drought, natural disasters and they have nothing. There are over 65 million people forced to escape poverty and injustice. They are not getting the support they deserve to help rebuild their lives. It’s organisations like this and their affiliates that help make a difference around the world to people who need it the most.
Luckily for me, the thought of a big breakfast and knowing it was only for 7 days kept me going. I can’t imagine only having that amount and type of food ongoing.
Thank you for your support over the last few weeks. Due to your donations I was allowed sugar and milk which meant I could make rice pudding – which was a major treat and helped me get through the week.
Maybe you will join me in the Ration Challenge next year.