I am frequently overwhelmed by a sense of how lucky I am.
That sense can come when I’m walking by the sea, when I’m reminded of how lucky I am to live in Williamstown. It can come when I’m leading worship, when I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be able to follow my vocation. It can come when I’m playing with my nephew, nieces, or any of the many other children in my life, when I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be have children to love even though I don’t have any of my own. It can come when I’m browsing in a bookshop, when I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be able to buy a book without worrying about my budget. It can come when I watch the news at night, when I’m reminded of how lucky I am that I was born in Australia. I wasn’t merely born in Australia; I was born to a stable, Anglo-Celtic, middle-class family. In so many ways, through absolutely no effort on my part, I won the birth lottery.
Given all this luck I don’t think it’s enough for me to simply thank God for everything She’s given me, even though I do that every day. I have to do something, however small, to share my luck with others.
So during Refugee Week, from 14-20 June, I will be doing the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and surviving on the same rations as a refugee from Burma.I will be asking people to sponsor me as I do it. The money raised will go to provide rations, seeds, tools and training to help Burmese refugees have enough to eat. Last year $60,000 were raised, which was able to feed 277 refugees for an entire year.
In the Ration Challenge Kit I will get: 3,500 g of rice; 280 g of split peas; 250 g of fortified flour; 155 g of fish; 40 g of salt and 125 ml of vegetable oil. I can also drink as much water as I like, but nothing else. No coffee!!! Apparently, however, according to participants from last year, I can make myself burnt rice tea.
Burnt Rice Tea
“After cooking rice, leave the stuff stuck to the bottom in the saucepan. Cook it for a bit longer to make sure it’s burnt good and proper (brown not black, though!). Then add water and simmer for a while to brew and reduce. Scrape the white frothy stuff off the top. Pour out the tea and enjoy!”
This doesn’t sound at all appetising to me!
Some refugees living in camps on the Thai-Burma border are able to grow vegetables. I won’t be able to grow vegetables, but I can earn them through fundraising. For instance, if I fundraise $200 I can choose a flavouring like chilli flakes to add to my food. If I fundraise $400 I can add a piece of fruit. (I’m definitely hoping to earn more than $400!)
If you would like to support me, my sponsorship page is here.
Eating for only one week what refugees on the Thai-Burma border eat all the time, and being able to drink unlimited clean water as I do, feels like such a small thing to do. But I am hoping to raise lots of money to go to Burmese refugees and that, I hope, will make a real difference to their lives. Given how undeservedly lucky I am, this seems to be the least that I can do.
I’ll by keeping people updated as I undertake the challenge here on my blog. And I apologise in advance for any grumpiness during the challenge!