Live Below the Line: Day 5

I didn’t feel quite human today and struggled to get any real work done. I was also extremely emotional and struggled to hold back tears at the most random times of the day and I don’t think it’s because I’m sad this challenge is over. I’ve found each day increasingly difficult and come home feeling hungrier and more exhausted than the day before. To be honest, I am so excited to be able to indulge once again tomorrow. And it’s not just the food I’m looking forward to, but the experiences that go along with the food such as a coffee out with my husband, or a picnic lunch with friends, or having a quiet night in to bake. Living on £1 per day not only limits what you can eat, it limits your social life as well, which is part of the reason why poverty can be so isolating. It’s difficult to share your life with others when you can’t afford to share common experiences with them and food often plays a significant role in our shared experiences.

We totally splurged today and totalled £0.97 per person. Here’s how:

  • Oatmeal breakfast with tea = £0.25
  • 5 biscuits = £0.05
  • 3 cups of tea throughout the day = £0.01
  • Chick peas with a splash of oil and spices = £0.17
  • Flour and water pizza dough with ham slices and courgette = £0.23
  • Noodles and broth with pork sausages = £0.26

Over the past five days I’ve come to dread the question “why are you doing this?” because I know that behind that question is another question, “how does living on £1 per day for five days do anything to solve extreme poverty?” The simple answer is that it doesn’t. I am under no delusion that the food I’m not eating and the money I’m not spending is somehow making its way to someone who lives in extreme poverty. And, to be honest, I’m glad that’s not the case. I am not campaigning for a temporary solution to extreme poverty. What I desire is lasting change. And I believe that a permanent end to extreme poverty is possible within my lifetime. Live Below the Line is, in part, a symbol of my commitment to do everything I can to see the end of extreme poverty within a generation.

My choice to live on £1 per day for five days has no immediate impact on the lives of those who did not choose to live in extreme poverty. I have had complete control as I took this challenge. I could have stopped at any point. But many do not have that choice. While I can celebrate my accomplishment of successfully completing a challenge and go back to eating whatever I want, whatever it is that I’ve longed for over the last five days, there are 1.4 billion people in the world who endure this longing, hunger, and exhaustion without an end in sight. Ghandi once declared, “poverty is the worst form of violence.” Part of that violence, I think, comes from experiencing longing and desire for extended periods of time without a foreseeable end to the struggle. Whether that struggle is to be able to afford enough food to eat each day, or to provide adequate housing for your family, or to put your children through school, to live without hope for the future because there seems no end to your current circumstance is as detrimental to a person’s health as not being able to afford groceries.

But there is hope. Though many go hungry, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone on the planet one and half times over. And there are many who believe that we are living in a unique time in history when we have the resources and the knowledge to eradicate extreme poverty. Jeffrey Sachs is one of many people who believes change is possible and he explains why below.

To see how we can all play a part to end extreme poverty why not book the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation? Feel free to contact me for more info.

If you’d like to help me as I work to see the end of extreme poverty, please donate here.

Thank you so much to all of you who have followed along and offered your encouragement and support. Stay tuned tomorrow as I share about our Dine Below the Line breakfast.