Jun 19 • 6M

The Keys to Your Home

Food, love, safety and comfort...

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Six myth-busting facts about refugees, that might surprise you

Dear Reader,

Today is day four of my Ration Challenge to raise money for Concern UK, a charity that supports refugees the world over. I thought I’d start the challenge a little earlier, whilst visiting my Dad’s place up in Norfolk, so I could be free of the temptation of a fully stocked kitchen for at least part of the week. Basically, for one week I’m eating the same foods and amounts as a Syrian refugee, living in a camp in Jordan.

Although I expected headaches and food cravings, what I didn’t anticipate is that my brain feels slower, my thinking is less sharp. In fact, everything needs to be a bit slower. This morning I felt my heart beat as I climbed the stairs, is was as if I didn’t have the energy reserves for that kind of exertion. So I’m having a day’s worth of lentils for breakfast to see me through the journey back home to London.

Obviously, these issues are nothing in comparison to what refugees have to face. I have a warm and comfortable home, I can visit my family easily, travel where I want to. I am grateful that I and my family are safe and secure.

The amount of food I’ve been allocated is shockingly small. I’ve had to divide it up to make sure I don’t eat it all within half the time. In addition, there is a lack of diversity of foods, it’s basically just beans, rice, an egg and a tin of sardines (I went for sardines instead of tofu in the end, to give myself some brain food). Oh yes, and the spring onions: the one vegetable I’m allowed. Thankfully. I'm not tired of them yet!

In fact, I’m really appreciating them, I’m eating every part even the slightly straggly green bits at the end that I might usually put in the food waste. In fact, all the rubbish I’ve accumulated in the four days I’ve been here can fit into the sardine tin. Eating like a refugee is very ecological in many ways.

Yesterday, I ran out of chickpeas, as I only took half my rations with me. I am missing their crunchy goodness. By the way, raw soaked, slightly sprouted chickpeas are are delicious! I considered roasting them with my coriander and a little oil. Yet it seemed very wrong to turn the oven on for so few chickpeas. Also I feared they would shrink!

Having so little food makes me appreciate the flavour of what I do have, I’m allowed two spices, I chose ginger and coriander and I treasure them both, but most of all I treasure salt. I’m chewing my food more than usual (even though most of what I’m eating is soup). When I walked through Sheringham town to the beach yesterday, I could smell all the different foods around me. Actually, the fish and chips did not smell very nice, but the coffee did!

Thank you to those of you who have so generously donated already! I massively appreciate your care and generosity. And if you haven’t donated yet, or feel unable, please know any amount is welcome. Your money will go where it’s needed most, to help feed and support people who are going the most enormous amount of upheaval and trauma. Another way you could help would be to share my page with friends who you think might want to support my challenge.

Here is my ration challenge page

And here is my Facebook page, which you can share with your friends if you wish. I will post up more stuff on there when I get home…

I’m hoping to hit £600 before Monday, so I can have a tin of tomatoes to go with my tin of kidney beans. These food items, plus the egg, remaining spring onion, and a few small portions of lentils and rice, will get me through until Thursday morning. If I get to £850 I can have any beverage I choose… I’ve decided to seek out the most protein rich drink I can buy if I hit that fundraising target. My stretch target is £1000 reaching that, would be amazing. I’m less than half way there at the moment.

Today, I’m going home.. I’ll find everything there including my lovely partner Alistair and my aged cat Lilly. All my books, clothes, photos and other possessions will be present, along with a kitchen full of food. Refugees don’t have these luxuries. Many still have the keys to their homes but they don’t even know if their homes have been bombed, looted or possessed by others. I’m getting a tiny glimpse of one aspect of being a refugee, but really it’s such a small part of the difficulties they face.

Please share and consider donating to support refugees (including people from Ukraine, Syria and Rohingya). Here are six myth-busting facts about refugees, that might surprise you.

Despite the challenge, classes are running, as usual, this week!

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I will have a celebration of protein and vegetables on Thursday, I’m looking forward to getting my physical and mental energy back!

Go to My Ration Challenge Page

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With love and good wishes,

Julia xxx