Charity, Fundraiser

Ration Challenge Day-5: Melancholy Strikes

First of all, the funding info: #RationChallengeUK, @ConcernUK. Here is the link to the donations: Subhadeep’s Ration Challenge UK 2021

When I finished the day yesterday I felt a sense of achievement that I’m half way through and I was quite upbeat about the surge in sponsorship I received on Day 4. Then came the big drain, and it felt as if all my energy has been sapped away. Day-5 was one of the dullest days during the challenge. The social media platform was quiet, I ran out of ideas where or whom to ask for more donations and as the day headed to was close, I’m overcome by a bittersweet feeling.

Talking about Day-5 has to start with the night before. Fatigued as I was, there was no respite, as I worked for five hours in the evening, even though within the comfort of our home. I had a terrible ache in my arms. I went to bed and couldn’t settle off to sleep at all. I know hunger causes that as I was kept awake before like this, but the pain in my arms as well made the night unbearable. I probably had less than four hour’s sleep and that too quite disturbed. I have a lot to do for work today, so I wasn’t looking forward to the day. Eventually I didn’t have a bad day, but the fatigue is not lifted.

Today was an eerily quiet day. Usually things happen on the Facebook platform, people ask for advices, share recipes, but today didn’t have the same vibe at all. The sponsorship figure didn’t look much good either. After yesterday’s success, I was hoping to get the vegetable reward soon. But I waited the whole day, until my teammate kindly offered to put in the difference. It felt as if I have asked everyone — LinkedIn, work colleagues, alumni WhatsApp groups. For the team it was a quiet day; we didn’t talk as much as yesterday, and although the donations kept coming in for some of the team members and we are nearly the £2000 mark.

I had rice and kidney beans for breakfast, then made pancakes for lunch. The first one turned out like a paratha, but the rest were thin and tasty. They went down well with chickpeas. I saw some good ideas about sardines and made fish cakes. I forgot I had vegetable, so I could have added some chopped onions to the fish cakes as well. I even used the sunflower oil from the fish tin in making the batter, so didn’t throw anything away. I had the fish cakes with some rice and lentils. I cooked the rice for rest of the days. I still have 700g rice left which I might donate to the local food bank. I have the snacks left to last until day seven. So everything is coming to a plan. Tomorrow’s plan is more pancakes since there is flour left. And I will make some rice pudding. I have milk now, and for sweetener, I’ll use raisins. I haven’t officially earned 20g fruit but I have brought members join our group, so I guess I can treat myself to the fruit.

In the middle of the calmness today, I felt that many of the members changed into a self-reflective mode. A number of them were feeling unwell, there were challengers finishing as they started a few days ahead, some having to finish their challenge before time. But above all, we saw more people thinking about the long term impact of this challenge, and what we could learn from reading books, watching films about the plight of the Syrian refugees. The mood amongst the challengers were definitely somber. Then, as I finished cooking the rice tonight and felt that that’s most of the cooking done for this challenge, a strange feeling engulfed me. Should I be happy, relieved? Should I look forward to a sumptuous meal the day after the challenge ends? Should I just go back to the old ways of living as if these seven days have not taught me anything? And the relief of the end of this ordeal was overpowered by this uneasiness and shame that that’s probably exactly what will happen. I will try to resist going back to the previous routine straight away, but the struggles and perils of the Syrian refugees in the camps in Jordan and elsewhere in the Middle East will soon be taken over by the drudgery of the daily life. Besides, over the week we have built a good bond amongst the members of our team and the with the wider Ration Challenge community. We worked together, we’re there for each other, like a safety net. At the end of this week, we’ll diverge into our own lives. Names and faces that became familiar over a week will become strangers again. Then again, that’s life, and this continuous change is what makes our life worth living. For the moment, sadness have definitely is far more overwhelming than the relief.

However, I’m determined to keep the impact lasting beyond these seven days. This week has been amazing, and taught us many little things such as simple pleasures in life doesn’t cost a lot of money. It can come as a congee fritter or 20 grams of fruit because your inspired someone else to the cause. So I’m going to make a pledge to myself, how I can keep the momentum going for Rations Challenge but that’s another day to reveal.

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