A couple of weeks ago we have introduced you to the Ration Challenge 2016. If you would like to read more about it, click here.

I tried to order the rations online but they didn’t ship outside of Australia. So I ventured out to the grocery store and bought the rations. The first problem, I faced was that the rations did not come in the size given on the website. I had to problem solve and buy in bulk. After hauling back: 900 g. of rice, 800 g. of lentils, 800 g. of dried chick peas, 400 g. of tinned sardines, 425 g. of tinned kidney beans, 4 cups of flour and 200 ml. of olive oil, I organized my pantry shelf and stored them. In the morning, I measured out about 425 g. of rice, 170 g. of green lentils, 85 g. white chick peas, 125 g. tinned sardines, 4 cups of flour, 400 g. of kidney beans in a can, and 200 ml. of olive oil. I took my rations outside and photographed them. The colors were beautiful in the sunlight.

I started on May 16 and ended on May 20, just short of my original goal of seven days. I learned how to make unleavened bread the second day when I googled how to make something with oil and flour. I was clueless on what to do with those two ingredients. I even experimented with chick peas inside the unleavened bread.

Most breakfast, lunches, and dinners consisted of rice, 10 to 15 kidney beans and unleavened bread, the size of the bottom of a Starbucks cup. At the end of the five days, I finished about 400 g. of kidney beans, 20 g. of chick peas, 40 g. of sardines, 50 g., 3 cups of flour and 900 g. of rice, thanks to the ration coupon.

This challenge was hard. I didn’t mind the first few days when I ate the kidney beans and rice. I had done this in the past on low budget times in my life, substituting rice with noodles and adding vegetables. The last few days though got tougher and tougher when I was hungry and  tempted by the smells in the passing restaurants and the food in the kitchen, in my room or on my roommate’s dinner plates. I tried to keep complaints at a minimum knowing that it wouldn’t help my situation.

I failed at the challenge. I couldn’t help drinking the Arabic coffee that a former refugee offered on Tuesday night or coffee cake, strawberries and black coffee with milk and sugar from another on Friday morning. My attempts still faltered when given a hamburger, salad, ice cream, and cookies on Monday night and offered pizza and hot dogs on Thursday night at Why Not? where I volunteer weekly. I may have even eaten a little more ice cream and some cookies after my Monday night meal.

Although, I didn't complete the challenge or read the rules fully before starting it, I learned about the value of food. Food allows us to think about our daily tasks rather than our growling stomachs. It brings us constant security in our little or big crisis'. Food sustains our every day living.

I'm so thankful for food. Many of us have the choice to go out for meals or buy groceries. And though grocery shopping can feel like a daunting task, we have our cabinets, refrigerators and freezers stocked while others don't. 

Take a moment to pray for the hungry, donate food to the food bank or family in your community, spread awareness through social media (be creative in your photos and videos), or donate to organizations whom provide food for the hungry. The choice is yours!