Eating like a Syrian Refugee Day 1

I’m really scared. I just opened my box of food for the week as I begin to prepare for the Ration Challenge created by Church World Service to raise awareness and funds for Syrian refugees living today in Jordan. For the next 7 days, I will be eating just what an average refugee there eats in the course of any given week. My small box includes a single can of slightly expired red kidney beans, 12 oz of soybean oil, 3/4 cup of dry red lentils, about 1/3 cup of dry chick peas, almost 2 cups of dry white rice, and a coupon to obtain 14 oz. of flour. OMG. I thought there was also going to be a tin of sardines for extra protein…

Can I actually function on so little food?

Here’s my menu plan for the week, included in my kit. Every day is practically identical to every other.

Breakfast: a miniscule bowl of rice congee. Rice and water soup.

Lunch: a small bowl of lentils and rice mixed together called “mujadara”

Dinner: another bowl of mujadara

Snack for the day: flatbread made from 1/3 cup of flour and water

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!! Oh! On Day 5 I get to open my can of beans and add that to some of my meals, too.

I’m aware right now of keeping my eye so carefully on my stovetop to make sure that NOTHING happens to that precious pot of congee I’m cooking for my breakfast for the next 3 mornings. I’m aware of my cold cup of coffee sitting near the kitchen sink that I didn’t finish this morning, but that looks absolutely delicious right now. I’m aware of the large can of fish flakes sitting near my dear goldfish, feeling grateful that I have something to feed her tomorrow. I can’t imagine not having good things to feed my children each day, knowing they might never be full when they finish eating.

Here’s Fatima’s story; a Syrian woman with incredible perseverance in the face of adversity:

Fatima fled Syria as a single mother, and it took seven days of walking through the day and night to arrive safely in Jordan. She has now been trained as a volunteer to help with food distribution to ensure it is fair and safe, and she also plays a vital role in educating other women on self-empowerment and business skills.

She will never forget the humiliation and powerlessness she felt when she first became a refugee. She now lives in Jordan with her children where, with more and more refugees arriving every day, life is hard and very expensive. They mainly depend on coupons and packages distributed through the support of people taking the Ration Challenge.

She says: “People who come here are already shy and broken on the inside. We should not add to this. I’ve made big changes to help people keep their dignity. I want to distribute packages with love and a smile.”

Tomorrow when I eat my flatbread for snack, I will think of Fatima’s courage trekking for a week with probably not much more than flatbread to eat herself. God, please be with those whose very survival hangs in the balance today—and those who might create a tipping point in their favor. Amen.


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