Operation Refugee Day 1

Antony and I are eating refugee rations for 5 days. Today we began.

It is going to be a huge challenge for me as I just love food and cooking delicious meals. What we have to work with is not very exciting!! One of my friends did it last year and I sponsored her.. this year I thought I’d give it a go myself. I asked Antony to join me as it would be easier than doing it alone. Seeing him eating fruit and goodies while I can’t would have been too tough. Yay for a supportive husband who went along with the idea 🙂

Not terribly excited with our rations

Contents of Operation Refugee Kit per person:
1 kg of rice
1 can of tuna
200ml Canola Oil
40 g Salt
300g  Chickpeas
300g Lentils
300g Red Kidney Beans
300g Flour
Given I don’t eat fish, Antony will have my can of tuna and I will take his lentils. I’ve already got some lentils sprouting away so I’ll have something fresh to eat in a couple of days. I don’t eat flour but will make an exception for this challenge. We can only drink water although we have each ‘earned’ 6 tea bags thanks to our sponsors.

Soaking beans last night & lentils for sprouting

Why are we doing this you may ask…
Both of us are very aware how privileged we are, simply because we were born in a little country at the bottom of the world that hasn’t experienced war since the 1800s. Travelling in Europe, Georgia, Armenia and Iran last year, the effects and implications of wars in the last century (some rather recent) are wide-reaching. We don’t deserve this peaceful home any more than Jews in Europe deserved to be persecuted in World War 2 or Syrians deserve their country to be torn apart by war today. It’s the roll of the dice really and we are so grateful to have emerged into this world in peaceful little Aotearoa. We don’t want to forget about those for whom the dice roll did not go so well…
I’ve been terribly saddened by stories from inside Syria and of those who have escaped the fighting. I have felt so hopeless in the face of the Syrian refugee crisis but Operation Refugee presented us with an opportunity to actually DO something.  A kind of symbolic action of solidarity that helps us remember and empathize with refugees and also acts as a way of raising funds for them. People from around the world have sponsored us through our sponsor page. If you haven’t done so yet and would like to here’s the link. It would be great to blow our target out of the water! Antony has reached his… I’ve still got a bit to go. We get special food rewards for different amounts raised so there’s also an incentive for getting sponsorship!
The money goes to an organisation that works with Syrian refugees in Jordan – the workers themselves are refugees. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) was set up by Palestinian Christians determined to help Palestinians of all religions made homeless in 1949. They work with Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. DSPR provides emergency food parcels, cash vouchers, healthcare, education, children’s fun activities and emotional support. They have set up self help groups so refugees learn from and support each other. Money raised will go to all these good things!

Menu Day 1.

MENU DAY 1
Breakfast: Rice with cinnamon (if you sponsor yourself you earn a spice… we both did this so went with cinnamon and Moroccan spice blend)
Lunch: Antony skipped lunch & I had lentil soup (literally lentils, water, salt & Moroccan spice, not too bad.. but my tummy was grumbling by dinner)
Dinner: Rice, kidney beans and an onion (we both made over $300 raised, so earned an onion, egg and tomato each. Tonight we used one onion, saving the other things for future days.)
Drinks: Lots of water
We kept busy working during the day and I did lots of food prep with soaking and cooking beans and rice etc. In the evening we played Settlers with friends which took our minds off food, we’ll have a games night tomorrow night too- great distraction!

Games Night – end of Day 1 Operation Refugee

The occasional hunger pangs I felt during the day were reminders of those for whom this is a daily reality, not a 5 day choice. Can’t imagine what it must be like.
The other day Antony proposed we sleep in a tent during these 5 days to also feel a bit more refugee-like… It’s currently 1 degree outside and nice and toasty inside with the fire roaring… I’m rather pleased he hasn’t brought that suggestion up again.

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