Seeking Empathy - A One Month Refugee Diet

Jeremiah’s Journal – Day 17

I was advised again that I should start some sort of multivitamin.  This has been about the fifth serious request that I have had to start doing so.  Today it was from my brother who is in pharmacy school.  (Thanks Jed, but I don’t remember you being all that concerned for me when I was stuck in the coup in Chad)  I am not surprised about the concern of my friends and families, but I am surprised that eating theses rations, even for just thirty days, can be harmful to my health.  I have been specifically told with the lack of calcium I could experience bone loss, the lack of vitamins will lead to a low red blood cell production and could lead to other symptoms and problems.  (I really don’t know what I am talking about, so I hope I am passing this information along correctly).

My two-year old son, Boston, has been sick the past couple of days, and I have been coughing.  So with all of this said, I will begin to take a multivitamin.  I thought about doing this from the beginning, but have put it off until now.  I now feel it is the right thing for me to do.  My purpose in doing this wasn’t to put my body at harm in any way, and by taking a vitamin I will be putting my family at ease and hopefully fight off any cold or flu.

img_1994.JPGIt is amazing how this ration of food is so unhealthy to be on for even thirty days, yet the refugees have been doing it for over 1,800 days. There are so many growing children that need the crucial nutrients to grow.  Before the genocide started they had milk, a variety of fruits and vegetables and ate a more complete diet.  Now they are given “filler” foods in order to pro-long life, yet their bodies will suffer major long-term effects if they live through this.

Please remember that there is a genocide happening right now on earth.  And instead of these amazing people being in concentration camps, they are struggling for survival in refugee camps.  We can still help.  We can get them back to their homes to start their lives over again, but the time is running out.

9 replies on “Jeremiah’s Journal – Day 17”

Miah – wow!!

It’s just gone midnight here so it is now Thursday – and I am officially on the fast for the next two days. (that’s all the Doctor would give me permission to do under the circumstances)

I’ll write on Saturday.

Stay well – you are doing great!!!

Gayle xxx

I can’t wait to read about your experience on the refugee fast – will you be inviting friends out to lunch or dinner as you did with the 100 day fast?

much peace, ktj

Miah –
I think you raise a valid point of consideration in your (struggle with and) decision to take the multi-vitamin. If this diet has so much of an effect on your healthy body, what will it do for those children who are anywhere from a newborn to 5 years old, which means this diet is all they have eaten their entire lives?

Just simply keeping people alive to be alive is not good enough for humanity. We must do more. If we allow people to perish in these camps from lack of nutrition and disease
then we too are complicit in this genocide.

in peace, ktj


No – I won’t be doing the restaurant thing this time. That worked so well during the 100 fast because I was actually abstaining from eating altogether for short stints. Sitting in a restaurant with friends… them eating and me not eating… very effective for making everyone feel uncomfortable and generating discussions and awareness!! :)

This is different. Putting the little packages containing a day’s ration in front of people is more confronting….. it looks (and IS) insufficient for good health.

Miah – I’m glad you’ve reviewed your situation (based on changing factors) and have decided to take the supplement. There is absolutely no shame or defeat in that, matey.

cheers all, Gayle

Hi Jeremiah,

Good luck on this journey. I know that when you start hearing your stomach say “feed me, feed me,” you think of all the beautiful people of Darfur…



Thank you for your comment. The constant thinking about the people of Darfur has been the best part about all of this. They are constantly on my mind, as I prepare my food, eat it, then plan when the next meal will be. It has been such a blessing for me.



Miah, it’s a probably a wise decision you started the multivitamin. Have you and Eric checked your blood pressure since you began this fast/diet? You are so right in pointing out the long-term health effects these refugees will face after years of malnutrition. We emphasized that point in the presentation we made to students attending a recent event we used for Darfur advocacy. They were all asking how the refugee children could have the strength to carry the firewood and jerry cans such little food for energy. We had provided a firewood bundle and a jerry can of water for their interaction.

My family is now part of a network of friends who provide assistance to two Darfur refugee families who relocated here in January. In 2003, they fled from the Janjaweed in their Darfur village and spent a year as IDPs, then escaped to Krisam refugee camp in Ghana for the next three years before the UNHCR helped them relocate to TX. The 8 children range in age from 1 to 13. With proper nutrition they have all had great growth spurts and are active and adjusting well to their new life in the U.S. They have survived many horrors and crossed many hurdles to get to this point. They feel ongoing pain for the continued suffering of all those they left behind. They know of your fast and appreciate your actions to help end this genocide.

Stay well,

San Antonio


Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. Wow, I would love to meet your families. Must be an amazing opportunity to be part of that.

I haven’t had my blood pressure taken, or been to the doctor. I actually might go soon. Eric has lost 20 pounds in 19 days, and I have lost 15. So it really does take a quick toll on your body. I really don’t get how so many children in the world or starving and suffering of malnutrition. There has to be something that can be done.

I hope all is well.



I haven’t been checking my blood pressure while on the diet. But I checked it before I started and it was 122/69, which I am told is normal. I haven’t started a multivitamin, but have been taking a calcium supplement, as I already had moderate problems from not getting enough calcium in my normal diet.


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