Thursday, May 09, 2013

Live Below The Line: An Update

Today is Day 4 of the Live Below The Line challenge, and I think I am going to make it! One more day of living on $2 per day, $10 for a 5 day week, to simulate the experience of living in extreme poverty.

But of course, it’s difficult to simulate completely – after all, this challenge is just about food and drink. It does not take into account that for the 1.4 billion people for whom this is the reality everyday, and also that this meager amount is what they subsist on for everything, including housing, utilities (if available), and all other expenses. Clearly, living in Australia, and coming from the wealth of opportunities that has got me where I am in life, it’s tough to experience the true experience. But it’s a little window, and a harsh reminder, at least.

The end of Day 1 was the worst, and then Day 2, with a constant caffeine withdrawal headache, and hunger ache. The meals on my meal plan were enough to get through to the next one, just, but not really hearty enough to sustain me through the day. Getting home from work on Monday was pretty ridiculous, as I felt listless and so, so tired. I got over this yesterday, being Day 3, and today has been the best I have felt. The lack of variety in the meals has been the hardest part, and the need for meticulous planning! Although a different breakfast, and the introduction of tomato, this morning, was a huge relief! I crave cheese, and coffee, and sugar, and coffee, and salad, and coffee!

I would rarely plan meals ahead, and I would mix things up through the week, so that I am never bored. Plus, I eat out so much! This week I have had to be aware of what I could eat at each meal, to stay in budget, and resist all snack on offer at impromptu morning teas at the office. I could not eat out before or after the movie I went to see last night (a free movie, at that!). I have also had to factor in cooking time most days! Plan when I could cook the meals, and have spent more time in the kitchen this week than I do for a month or more! This has been a full time occupation, just living! Such an insight!

One more day, and I can return to eating meat and drinking coffee like the privileged person that I am. I am certain that this week’s experience, and the conversations I have had about the challenge, will stay with me for a long time. I will certainly approach the dilemma I always have with beggars a little differently, that’s for sure.

I am so, so pleased that my challenge has also managed to raise such valuable funds towards the worldwide fight against extreme poverty. I have raised $695 to date (fundraising closes on 31st of May, so plenty of time to kick in a few dollars!), which will go toward supporting kids access school, have a meal before school so they can concentrate, and ultimately access a better life. Thank you to all who have supported me, and this important world issue!


  1. The lack of variety, choice and nutrition is enough to make someome quite unwell.
    I'm interested in your comment about beggars though - would you consider offering to buy them a nutritious meal or do you think that if they aren't given the opportunity to buy healthy and a variety of food, there's a danger they'd buy a lot of what they're used to eating?

    1. Yeah, offer to buy them a meal. They must be so hungry! Anything really - they just need something not to feel so listless.
      I have also been against giving to beggars...but this week has helped me learn a little about how they must be feeling, to get to that point of desperation.


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