My Oxfam Ration Challenge

Craig MacGregor
Jun 24, 2018 · 7 min read
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This past week I participated in the Oxfam Ration Challenge where I ate nothing but the same rations as provided by Oxfam to Syrian Refugees for seven days. The idea behind the ration challenge is of course to raise money and awareness about the refugee crisis but also as an act of solidarity to show the refugees we are with them and not against them.

The rations pack provided consisted of flour, rice, chickpeas, lentils, beans and vegetable oil.

I was doing the vegan version so I was allowed to purchase some tofu, plus you can pick a spice for the week which for me was smoked paprika. I also spent some time coming up with a bit of a strategy to make sure i didn’t go hungry towards the end of the week.

I made flatbreads in batches to last me a few days and I would get up early each morning to make enough spicy rice to get me through till bed time. One thing I noticed was that it was quite time consuming and meant I had to get up at least an hour earlier for work each day to make sure I had everything prepared and packaged.

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I decided I would put my money and my mouth where my heart was and kick off my charity drive with a $1000 donation to set the tone for what I was hoping to achieve.

The first couple of days I had a splitting caffeine withdrawal headache, and was basically wiped out by about 4pm. I had to bail home from work early (not that i was being very productive there anyway) and crawl into bed for super early nights on both Monday and Tuesday.

The headache dissipated by Wednesday morning and I worked hard to embrace the routine of eating pretty much the same thing every meal while trying to get through the day as best I could. There was a lot of carbs, not much protein, no fruit or vegetables and only water to drink which left me with quite serious brain fog, short attention span and hardly any capacity to focus or concentrate.

About 5 days into the challenge I started to develop this love hate relationship with my meals and while I was sick of eating the same spicy rice twice a day I found my self super excited when meal time rolled around.

Work was definitely a huge challenge with my diminished brainpower and energy. My company is right in the middle of working on some really important and formative projects which and my team really helped carry me through the week to keep everything moving along.

By day six (Friday) my brain was pretty much a potato, but the universe wouldn’t let me get off easy. I had the fantastic opportunity to talk with the European Union’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström about my company Encrypt S, NavCoin, Valence and Blockchain.

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Talking with the EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström

I somehow managed to get through that meeting without having an aneurysm or letting my brain fog get the better of me and really engaged her and her entourage in a great conversation about blockchain, what we do at Encrypt S, our journey so far and our path forward.

Feeling relieved I went home to rest and reflect on the week as my final day of the challenge approached.

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A collage of what my weeks meals looked like

Over the week the donations steadily grew and I climbed the rankings on the leaderboard. I spent a lot of time documenting my journey on social media and publishing short video’s and photos to encourage people to support me and donate to the cause. You can see the full weeks worth of pictures and videos on my instagram account:

https://www.instagram.com/craig.b.macgregor

I also retweeted a lot of my content through the NavCoin twitter account which has around 50,000 followers in an effort to maximise awareness about the cause.

My hard work paid off. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning at the end of the Ration Challenge I was ranked 10 on the leaderboard raising over $2000 in total.

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Ranked #10 on Sunday morning

I published a final call for any donations to my social channels and I received an amazing boost of $1200 from an anonymous donor which pushed me to rank #1 on the leaderboard. Whoever you are, you are an absolute legend. That was a truly amazing and generous thing to do!

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Bumped to #1 by an anonymous donor

Feeling both starving and elated I headed out to get a delicious brunch to celebrate the end of the challenge and raising enough money to provide the bare necessities to 25 families for an entire month.

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Coconut latte, orange & turmeric juice plus a full cooked vegan breakfast.

All in all it’s been a hard but rewarding week. I posted this message to my facebook page to close out the challenge with a reflection of the insight I gained over the week by introspecting on my experience.

I’m so happy I was able to do something that truly helps people who are in such a dire situation. The response to my donation drive was nothing short of amazing. I am truly humbled everyone’s generosity. A massive thank you to all the people who donated and supported me throughout the week. I couldn’t have done it without you.

You are the real heroes!

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