After a night of indulging in pizza and ice cream, Sean and I woke this morning to the beginning of the Refugee Ration Challenge, 2019 edition.

We are starting a day earlier than most as my birthday is next week and I selfishly plan to eat that weekend. Besides, it’s better to get going. Anticipation is harder than the real thing.

I have to admit I’m entering the week of living off Syrian refugee rations a bit nervous. Last year was incredible: we were overwhelmed by the generosity and goodwill of our wonderful community who empathise with people living across the world in very different conditions. We raised over $2700, and couldn’t have been more impressed or more grateful. I must admit though, the challenge was very taxing; in one week I lost 3.4kgs (7.5lbs), and definitely felt the effects of living on a low volume of low quality food.

This year I’m starting the challenge at 58.2kg (last year was 60kg), and am both curious and anxious about losing the same amount of weight as I did last year. Also, in 2018, I was waiting for my visa to come through and didn’t have a day job. This year I’m teaching yoga, often several classes in a day, and traveling through the city. Despite being concerned about my energy levels, I think this will probably be a blessing as it takes focus off myself and brings me into the present. As I said before, anticipating is hard, but that only happens when living in the future – waiting for the next meal or for sleep.

The Challenge is an emotional time as our focus is on those living in dire conditions in refugee camps. Our conversations centre around these issues and our hearts stay with these people. We are aware that what we are doing is a very simple and limited re-creation of a minor part of refugee experience. Danger, violence, and loss cannot be recreated, but we hope that by having this experience for a week we can gain some small understanding of what people in our world are going through, and to help in our humble way.

Watch this space to follow my whinging about hunger pains – there will be more to come. In the meantime, please take a moment to send a wish, a prayer, a wisp of goodwill to those in our world suffering from loss of home, lack of food, and disconnection. And please, if you’re able to donate, please visit our site here.