The week before this challenge started, the news was riddled with stories concerning acts of terrorism in the world but especially the attacks on London Bridge in June. It was horrendous and I feel for the city of London and the families involved. I also feel for the Muslims in the UK who took an unbelievable amount of hate around that time. All sorts of videos came out of people on public transport being shouted at and told to leave. It’s disgusting. Mainly because terrorism and Islam are always assumed to be hand in hand and therefore the media teaches people that Muslims are dangerous. We all know this is untrue, yet it still comes up all the time and is just plain annoying. Now I’m not a Muslim in any shape or form, but I felt like it was unfair for a whole group of people within our society to be ostracised – a large group at that. I wanted to attempt to show solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters in any way I could.
To make it more difficult at that time, it was right in the middle of Ramadan. Ramadan does not sound fun at all. If you don’t know what it comprises of, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything at all during sun up – not even water. I decided that I would take part for one day. I maybe should have done it for a whole week but I didn’t step up to the challenge. I know it isn’t much but it may develop into something else in the future.
I chose to do the Friday. My particular day (23rd June) technically started sun up at 2.42am and finished at 9.25pm. So naturally, I woke up at 2.30 am and attempted to eat what I could. But who wants food at 2.30 am after already having been asleep? This was my first mistake – I should have forced more food upon myself but hey, you live and learn.
I then had a fairly standard day. A few lessons in the morning and during lunch. It wasn’t too bad at all until I went to a previously arranged meeting to help a friend unload and load a bunch of music equipment. I hadn’t really noticed the hunger at this point until I had to move heavy things. I felt lethargic and unfocused. The worst point was when someone arrived bearing gifts of strawberry Cornettos without realising I wasn’t eating. That was pretty much torture. Anyway, I finished that and headed back home at about 6pm for the long 3.5 hour wait until I could eat. I got a bit delirious that night. Having not had any water or coffee or anything I got a bit ‘drunk’ almost with lack of energy. I don’t know if it was funny or annoying for the people I was with.
Just before 9.25, we headed to Spoons to break the fast. I realise now that I potentially did something fairly disrespectful – please know that I wasn’t able to think straight at this point! I ordered a beer and a burger off of the menu in order to eat something. I also posted about it on my Insta story talking about breaking Ramadan with beer and beef. If I offended anyone with that, I am very sorry, I wasn’t trying to – just wasn’t thinking.
This could be the end of the story but it isn’t. Being a muppet, I didn’t drink any water. I had 2 beers and a salty burger instead. Firstly this made me feel far more inebriated than I should have off of 2 beers, but secondly, it made me super-dehydrated. I woke up at 2.30 in the morning with fever like symptoms. I was sweating profusely and felt so ill. It dawned on me that I had been a muppet and I downed 2 pints of water before hitting the hay again. This was stupid.
Anyway, all of this aside, I must say I cannot believe how Muslims do this for the whole of Ramadan. It is a massive thing to commit to and they have some will power. Have I changed anything? No. Is racism still going to happen? Yes. It has helped me understand the faith more and I ended up looking into all sorts of things about how hard it can be in the UK and what Muslims in Northern Scandinavia do during Ramadan when the days are stupidly long. It just means I understand a group of people different to me a bit better now and in my opinion, this can only be a good thing. That’s been the best thing about stuff like this, it helps me get out of my own ‘box’ that I’ve created and empathise with others.