Ration Challenge 2020: Days 6 & 7

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I’m taking the Ration Challenge and eating the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan for one week. Find out more and sponsor me here! And read previous Ration Challenge posts here.

 

So…I’m a bit behind on my Ration Challenge blog posts. I totally missed posting Day 6, mainly due to a total lack of energy. So here are days 6 and 7 (the final day!) combined…

At 8.20am (having been up since 3am, feeling bloated and still with lower back pain) I decided it was time to break out my reward drink. As a result of reaching £600 of sponsorship, I was entitled to enjoy a 330ml hot or cold drink of my choice, to be consumed in one sitting – one of a few rewards available on the Ration Challenge for hitting certain sponsorship targets. I went for a Little’s Cardamom Bun flavoured coffee with milk, figuring both the caffeine and the sweet flavour would help get me through the penultimate day…and after a week of repetitive, fairly bland flavours, it tasted incredible.

 

Ration Challenge - Reward Drink

 

It gave me the energy I needed to turn the second half of my red lentil portion into a dal. Not as exciting a dal as I’d normally make, to be fair – literally just red lentils simmered with salt and water. But it was good to have something with a different flavour to enjoy towards the end of the week – even if I was only hungry enough to eat two spoonfuls for lunch.

 

Ration Challenge 2020 - Dal

 

In the afternoon, I took the toddler out for a walk for the first time in a few days. I’ve felt guilty for not doing more with him, but I’ve worried that with this little energy, I wouldn’t be able to look after him properly. It’s a horrible feeling – and again, it made me think of the refugees who have to live on these rations (sometimes even less, as there aren’t always enough ration packs to go round), while caring for young children. We were out for 45 minutes, and I felt ok – I’m wondering if it was the coffee that had that effect…

Before I knew it, 8pm had come around. I’d fed the child, but I wasn’t hungry at all myself – I think my body has just got used to eating very, very little – either that, or I’m bored of food. For someone who eats for pleasure, that isn’t a great feeling.

But I was excited about that evening’s meal. I used the last of my flour (plus water and salt, and 1/7 of my week’s shallot portion, finely chopped) to make three small crepes, which I had with some of the dal I’d made earlier, plus the first half of the 120g of halloumi I’d earned for the week, pan-fried until golden. And it was delicious!

 

Ration Challenge 2020 - Crepes, Dal, Halloumi

 

And then I had an early night. This week I’ve had no real desire to stay up late – to watch a film in the evening, to read a book…to do anything. It’s a bit depressing.

Soon enough, Saturday morning rolled around, and a smile when I realised that it was my final day! I managed to hold off eating until lunchtime, and I went for a seriously plain meal so I could feast on the rest of my rations later – just plain boiled rice with salt and paprika.

 

Ration Challenge 2020 - Plain Boiled Rice

 

Again, a day of not really feeling hungry, but again, by the time the evening came around, my stomach was rumbling. It was the most varied meal I’d eaten all week: the rest of the dal, the remainder of the tin of sardines (mashed with their oil), the second half of my halloumi, and shallot-fried rice. And I’m sure it tasted all the better for the fact that I knew it was my final meal of the challenge!

 

Ration Challenge 2020 - Final Feast

 

On the Sunday morning, I was up even before the toddler – feeling like a kid at Christmas. I could actually eat whatever I wanted! I could start the day with a cup of coffee! (and believe me, I did).

But then, out of curiosity, I got on the scales, and saw that in just seven days, I’ve lost 10lb. Being a size 8-10 to start with, that’s a considerable amount, and it makes me wonder just how some of these refugees – many of whom live in these camps for 10 years or more – survive.

It’s not just the weight loss, either. My brain hasn’t been functioning properly – serious brain fog on some days. My skin is dry and dull-looking. I’ve been incredibly lethargic, my mood has been all over the place, and my sleep has been hugely disrupted. But this is partly why I took the challenge for the second year running: to gain just a small glimpse of some of what these refugees go through, day in, day out – and to raise money to ensure that as many of them as possible can be fed.

At the time of writing, I’d personally raised over £710, and UK Ration Challenge participants in total had this year raised over £1.4m through taking the challenge – enough to feed 9,135 refugees for an entire year. With more than one in every 100 people on Earth having been forced from their homes as a result of conflict or disaster – the highest number on record, and COVID-19 won’t help – I’m proud to have played even a tiny part in helping to make a difference.

I’ll definitely be taking part again next year…will you?

 

Learn more about the Ration Challenge here.

 

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