Sean and I are preparing for the Act for Peace 2018 Ration Challenge. Starting Sunday, we’ll be living on the same food that the typical refugee receives for a week.

Normally I like to indulge myself in thinking I’m pretty good at living simply and that I have a degree of stoicism that feeds resilience, but upon seeing our rations for the week I readily admit that I’m humbled by the challenge.

From July 1-7, 2018, there will be nothing more in my cupboard than the following:


Mmmm….*                                                                                           Rice – 420g
Lentils – 170g
Dried chick peas – 85g
Tinned sardines – 125g
Tinned kidney beans – 400g
Vegetable oil – 300ml

Yeah… and I don’t even like sardines. (There’s an option to swap them for a vegetarian option, but I doubt most refugees have the luxury to be vegetarian/vegan, so I’m going to have to get over my aversion quickly.)

I’ll be back on the blog, writing about the experience next week. From a first-world participant perspective, I’m interested to see how my activity (surfing, yoga, running, writing) is affected by the challenge, and especially how my mood is. I’ve had restricted diets in the past, but have to say that this one seems particularly bleak… The lack of fruit and veg is will probably be a major factor, and there’s nothing to really look forward to. When I’ve fasted in the past it’s always been with the expectation that it was somehow good for me. On this diet, one gets the sense that it really is all about subsistence. It clearly isn’t a long-term health promoting exercise for most.

Even before starting I’ve got a slightly greater understanding of what life must be like for a refugee (and I’m only talking about food! I haven’t even begun to take into account the effects of violence, loss, grief, trauma, injury & illness, etc). They say food unites us, and in this case its limitation provides a doorway to a bit of understanding for those living in dire circumstances.

If you’ve got it in you, please give a little sugar here at Act for Peace. (Thanks to everyone who has already contributed to Team ShoDa!)

* Not pictured: an additional 1.5kg rice and 400g flour in “UN Food Coupon” form