Hungry, tired but worth the effort
Alex Cooper has found a new appreciation for her mum’s cooking and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
“I have discovered time is relative and food is a necessity,” she says.
The Mt Albert Grammar School student was one of 29 prefects who spent 40 hours sleeping outside in a cardboard box last weekend.
They had no meals, no technology and only cardboard, tape and tarpaulins to keep them sheltered from the rain.
The demonstration was in support of the World Vision 40 hour famine, which runs this weekend.
Throughout the week prefects are running concerts and assemblies to help raise student awareness of the issues behind the famine.
All proceeds will go toward the rescue effort in Myanmar.
Alex says it is important for students to step outside their comfort zone.
“Some students found what we did a bit strange, some said good on you, but either way it raised their curiosity,” she says.
“It’s important not to be so materialistic and think about what things are like beyond New Zealand.”
Students who took part in the demonstration spent from 7pm on Saturday to 11am on Monday morning in the school grounds.
They had warm clothing, barley sugars and Just Juice to keep them going but were allowed no other food or comforts at all.
In between sleeping in makeshift cardboard homes, they played board games, talked and reflected on the situation.
Prefect Gemma Gibbons says even though they did not have food or shelter, the students were still comfortable.
“What we had in this situation is so much more than others might have in a disaster,” she says.
“We take for granted having a bed, food and a shower waiting when we get home.”
When the 40 hours was up, the group met at Burger King for a much needed lunch.
“We are tired, cold and hungry but we feel good we have done it,” says Alex.
“One of the boys said even his mum’s worst meals sound like the best thing ever right now.”
Principal Dale Burden was impressed with the group’s efforts.
“These are outstanding young people who have really taken on board school values of the importance of service and sacrifice,” he says.
“These are the sorts of activities our students are encouraged to take part in and we hope this will become a tradition.”
The 40-hour famine runs from May 23 to 25.
People from around the country will give up food, technology and other luxuries to raise money for Third World countries and those affected by disaster.
For more information, visit www.famine.org. nz or phone 0800 FAMINE (326-463).
Going without: From left: Gemma Gibbons, Alex Cooper and Rachael Chappell and other Mt Albert Grammar School prefects went without food or shelter for 40 hours to raise money for World Vision.