Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live Below The Line Challenge Completed

I survived Living Below The Line for 5 days last week! I mean, of course I would, but the main factor is that I didn't cheat, I didn't bend to temptation all around me at my workplace, and I gritted out the caffeine withdrawals.

From my $10, and the menu plan I followed, I managed to have 3 meals a day.

With the knowledge that this restricted food and drink plan was only 5 days, it was less of a challenge than that of those faced with this prospect every day - 1.4 billion people, all around the world, who live below the poverty line.

This experience does help echo the notion of luck of the “world lottery”, which I heard again at the AYAD Youth Forum last month. It’s sheer luck that I am born in Australia, and within the  opportunities that have come my way, and thus I do not need to live like this challenge on an enduring basis. I can eat what I like, spend what I have in my bank account, and I also have the freedom to travel where I want, get the education I seek, read what I want, wear what I want...

Once I was through the hunger experience and the caffeine withdrawal headache pains of the first 2 days of the Live Below The Line week, the lack of variety was my main challenge.  I was so bored with the prospect of the same combination of ingredients. I longed for the usual variety my usual life affords me. And I would never eat food with that much butter with such frequency!

When I was cooking those meals, I was also being very careful of waste. I was so worried that I would run out of food for my leftover meal on Friday night. It reminded me, as I trimmed the skin from the pumpkin, of helping in the kitchen in Cambodia, and having my friend Nina tell me off for discarding what I would usually discard from a capsicum - the ends. She reminded me, back then, that not everyone can be so frivolous.

The lack of energy was another big insight from the week. If this figure from the World Bank is correct about the AUS$2 per day, the women I saw working in the fields on my trek in Kalaw, and the work teams of women laying the road in Bagan, doing such back-breaking labour, sustain their activities of daily living on just this. I just had to sit at a desk all day, in my current job. That blows my mind!

I have raised $755 from my week Below The Line, which will go towards the fight to end extreme poverty around the world. Thank you to all who have supported me and the cause, and the fundraising page is open until the 31st of May for all those still wanting to.

(Image credit - Halogen)


  1. As Evie would say "Yay! You did it! Well done!"

    It frustrates me so much that the current political climate is encouraging Australians to complain about how hard we're doing it when we have so much. We all need a big smack with a gratitude stick.

    1. Ha ha, thanks Jess and Evie!
      Ugh, especially with the budget and the discussions of foreign aide cuts. Most people here don't appreciate just how good we all have it!

  2. Well done!! I'm a creature of habit and have the exact same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, and have a tendency to only cook 2-3 times a week, so I'm not sure I'd find the lack of variety difficult. The lack of snacks, on the other hand.......

    1. Thanks MOMM!
      No snacking, treats, or drinks, was indeed a challenge!

  3. I can't even imagine getting through manual labour on what you ate for the five days - lucky for a sedentary job hey?!
    Thank you for the linkage.
    I feel conscious of waste, Especially when I let fresh produce go off - I think of the labour that went into growing those veggies.
    Well done on a different life experience - you raised so much :)

    1. Thank you, pretty impressed with the fundraising effort!


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