Today is the last day of my Act for Peace Ration Challenge, which I’ve been doing with my brother, Shane.
Reflecting back on the week, one of the hardest parts of the challenge for me was all the food preparation. My diet is usually so convenient, but this week I’ve had to weigh up my ingredients and cook from scratch every night. It’s been tiring on top of working and raising two kids.
I’ve also noticed how good food smells. My son makes toast in the morning for breakfast and I never expected toast to smell so amazing!
Shane has experienced caffeine withdrawal on top of his food rationing, but we’ve both managed to get through the week.
These hurdles don’t change the fact that Shane and I chose to take up this challenge. We chose to eat the rations, we chose to talk about the issue with our family, friends and networks, and we chose to restrict ourselves at social functions.
Refugees don’t get that choice. They don’t get to say no to a glass of champagne because they’re challenging themselves for a week. And they certainly don’t get to feed their kids a hearty meal while they themselves eat rice and lentils.
Two nights before the Ration Challenge started I was sipping a warm cocktail, served from a teapot in a fancy bar in Perth’s CBD.
I don’t want to feel guilty for the life I have; I have my own challenges and hurdles to deal with, like anyone else. But I do want to acknowledge that I chose to take part in the Ration Challenge from a privileged position. And I’m not quite sure me rationing my food for a week really gives me a dose of what refugees are going through.
I’m not personally affected by war; I’ve not seen the kind of violence that would leave me with deep trauma, I’ve not had to leave family, friends, a life and a home behind to feel safe, and I’ve not been rejected by a large part of the world because of my situation.
I’m fairly sure I’ll never know what that feels like. I’m one of the lucky ones. And if you’re reading this, you probably are too.
What does make me feel good, is knowing that I used my choice to help people out. Shane and I challenged ourselves for a week and with a huge amount of support from you, we’ve raised $2233!
All together, Act for Peace have raised an amazing $1831 372, at the time of publishing this article. That’s enough to feed 6 564 refugees for a year. When you think of it like that, it was a pretty small amount of pain for a huge reward to people around the world affected by conflict.
While rationing my food has been hard, I’ve really enjoyed taking part in this challenge. Through my research for writing these posts I’ve learnt a lot about the issue and I’ve tried to reflect on how other people around the world live.
This process has also shown me that I belong to a great network of people.
I sincerely thank everyone who has sponsored Shane and me – for their donations to the work of Act for Peace, and for all the encouragement along the way.
Even though the challenge is almost over, you can still sponsor me at https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/heatherdowling.
To sponsor Shane visit https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraiser/shanedowling.
And to read previous posts from throughout the challenge visit https://revivemagazine.org.au/category/ration-challenge-2016/.