“Live Below the Line” by the Global Poverty Project

Pre-thoughts:

Why did I decide to do the Live Below the Line challenge? Well to be honest, I wanted a challenge and it’s for a great cause. It’s important to highlight the issues that people face and world hunger and extreme poverty are most certainly important issues. As a Muslim I am aware of how difficult food challenges may be as we observe fasting every year during the holy month of Ramadan; where one cannot eat or drink during the hours of daylight in order to be able to understand how those without food feel and when we give money to charity we can empathise more and have true meaning behind the money we give. Even though we may not be allowed to eat during daylight hours we still eat properly in terms of full meals and so in comparison to the Live Below the Line challenge, Ramadan seems like a walk in the park because at least with Ramadan I still get to eat properly on a daily basis.

As difficult as this challenge may be it is no comparison for the 1.4 billion people in the world who are living in extreme poverty. This particular challenge is only for food and the reality for these people is that they live on £1 a day for everything… Food… Water… Clothes… Shelter… Absolutely everything!

Here is a link to the Below the Line challenge the Global Poverty Project and if you have any free change please do donate. 🙂 https://www.livebelowtheline.com/uk

Below is the list of ingredients that I brought for the week which I will buy from Tesco. The total cost is exactly £5. To be honest, I was rather surprised that I was able to get so much food for such a small amount of money.

Milk

89p

Spaghetti x2

48p

Sweet and sour sauce x2

54p

Tomato Soup x2

48p

Vegetable Soup x2

48p

Teabags

27p

Bread

47p

Yogurt pack x2

66p

Yogurt

15p

Mixed Fruit Jam

29p

Fruit squash

29p

Total

£5

Tuesday:

12:43am: I started today instead of Monday as I brought take-away on Sunday night and I didn’t want to waste it. To be honest I was a little anxious about doing the challenge so it was kind of almost any excuse to put it off as I genuinely think it will be harder than Ramadan.

Kept thinking that as it’s a food challenge I was nil by food because the only food challenge I ever do is Ramadan. I’ve done Lent for a few years though…

13:39: I’ve literally just got back from Tesco and starving really isn’t the word. I haven’t eaten yet as I hadn’t brought mu food the next 5 days. I went to Tesco yesterday but that was a no-brainer as I forgot it was Sunday hours on a bank holiday and by the time I got there Tesco was closed. #Fail.

It was a 40 minute walk there and back. Walking back was a killer as my rucksack was surprisingly heavy and in the heat it doesn’t make for much fun. I can’t help but think that those 1.4 billion people around the world who are living in extreme poverty have to travel even further for water on a daily basis and yet I still have the luxury of clean running water anytime I want it.

14:09: Breakfast was surprisingly quite nice. I had toast with mixed fruit jam, strawberry yogurt and a cup of tea. Yes, the bread wasn’t as soft as id like and the jam was too runny and my tea was too weak with no sugar BUT it was still rather filling and quite tasty especially considering how little it cost. The yogurt was the biggest surprise as it was yummy at only cost 15p!

15:07: Given that I only had my breakfast an hour ago (yes, I appreciate how late and studenty it was. :P) I am finding that I think about food a lot more. My unfinished tea is still sat on my desk… Without sugar it doesn’t seem very appetising. Alas, I think I’ll be used to it by the end of the challenge!

17:54: Cigarette craving is really beginning to do my head and I’m hungry so I’m hoping that making dinner will allay the craving? Perhaps not but at least I’ll be getting some food. I’ve decided to have vegetable soup and bread for dinner and a cup tea for the wait.

19:44: Verdict for dinner? I decided to have spaghetti and sweet and sour sauce. It started off as quite nice and tasty but towards the end it became sickly. Luckily for me I will be eating this for the remainder of the challenge… I ate most of it but put the rest in a tuppa wear box as I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away as I cannot afford to waste food.

19:57: Just had another yogurt and I’m now going to make toast as I’m still hungry. I thought dinner would be filling considering it’s pasta but I don’t think food is as filling no matter what it is if you don’t like it.

23:44: STILL feeling the hunger from dinner as it wasn’t very filling or appetising after a while. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed feeling hungry. I cannot really eat anymore because I need enough food to last me the rest of the challenge.

Wednesday

1:13: I didn’t think the novelty of the challenge would wear off as quickly as it has but I am feeling it go especially considering that I am going to bed feeling hungry. I seem to have thought about food more way more than I normally would have on a standard day. It has been worse considering that that my housemates have been cooking and I couldn’t help think I wanted what they were making. I really wish that I could have a proper meal! Let’s hope the rest of the day will pick up!

16:24: So I’ve only just had my breakfast even though I’ve been up since about 11am. I seem to have unconsciously thought that if I eat later it means I will eat less and thus my food will last until Saturday and I will curb my hunger for the day if I eat later. I don’t really know to what extent that will work but I have been doing that today.

21:30: I’ve had my dinner and today it was vegetable soup with bread. I used the whole can instead of half because I was hungry. Today’s dinner was a lot better than yesterdays. I still didn’t find it really filling which is strange as I have five pieces of bread but I am still feeling a lot better than I was last night before I went to bed.

Thursday

11:30: I’ve just had my breakfast and it was the same as previous days. Although, it’s a little bit of an awkward moment when you put jam in your tea because you’re craving sugar that much…

15:22: Currently in town undertaking a mission of buying myself a digital SLR camera but even THAT isn’t enough to make me forget about how hungry I am. It’s so incredibly tempting to buy food as its EVERYWHERE but alas, I cannot afford it.

23:41: I’m at the Lincoln Alternation LGBT Group and I can’t help but think about food… Especially considering where we are it’s pretty damn cheap!

Friday

00:11: This challenge is most certainly reaffirming my preivilege in the world. I live in the West and in a country that if the going ever really got tough there is a welfarr state for me to lean on until I am back on my feet. But even before that my mum is amazing and she is always therefor me. Through this I cant help but think of wondering just how many of us will actually do anything or continue to be active in helping those less privileged than ourselves. #FoodForThought… #LolIrony!

13:30: Had a busy morning of a meeting and job hunting. I’ve only just sat down to have breakfast, totally messed up my mojo for the day. Once slice of toast this time and tea. I’m still hungry but I’m running out of bread so feeling the need to ration it as I only have a couple of slice left.

I am really looking forward to finishing this challenge to I can have a proper meal.

Saturday

2:38: I have just got back from a friend’s house party for his 21st. I am so gutted that im not having my standard takeawat tonight as per usual after a night out. It’s kind of ruined the structure a little. As I don’t drink takeaways are what I look forward to after a night out. I really do look forward to them! Sad? I know…

I’m a bit peckish so I’m making spaghetti at the moment with no sauce because I’m reaaaaally not feeling the sweet and sour sauce. I thought to myself when I was considering buying it that I hadn’t had it in ages so I may like it now… Well, nope. I still really don’t like it. Another example of why we ought to listen to our gut.

I think the next time I do this challenge I will buy rice and loads of fruit and veg from the market and see how long it lasts me. Surprisingly, you can get a fair bit of stuff from the market for little money!

17:03: I ate my left over spaghetti from last night but other than that I haven’t eaten or drank today. I don’t really know why to be honest. Actually, it could be that I only have 7 hours of the challenge left so perhaps I’m just waiting to I can eat properly? Takeaway? Arguable, that’s not eating properly… 😛

I’ll make some more of the oh-so-lovely tea with no sugar which I love so much and have the last yogurt for breakfast. I do wish that I had grown accustomed to the lack of sugar in my tea as I usually have 3 teaspoons of sugar. I’m Asian, my grandma has diabetes and diabetes generally skips a generation as sometimes it can be inherited. Even if someone has diabetes and it was a genetic case you can still develop diabetes by consuming large quantities of sugar. I’m really not giving myself a chance am I?!

18:13: I’ve just had a loooooong hot shower and I’m feeling the hunger more so now. The hot shower probably wasn’t the best idea… I should have eaten like an hour ago…

23:53: So I’ve just ordered takeaway. Veggie supreme pizza, chips, sauces and fizzy drinks. To say I’m looking forward to this is an understatement…

After Thoughts

I finished this challenge with a prayer to Allah (swt) which resembles how Muslims finish each day of fasting during Ramadan. I prayed to show my thanks to Allah (swt) for everything that I have in my life but more so the basic things; food, water, shelter and clothes. I am so incredibly thankful to be in a position that I am able to help those less fortunate than myself. I prayed that one day we will no longer feel the need to pray for those less fortunate than ourselves because everyone will have at least the basic necessities. One day we can end extreme global poverty. One day.

Re-reading what I have written over the past 5 days really just highlights my privilege in life. I mean, I complained about the lack of sugar in my tea for crying out loud! On a more serious note though, this challenge, much like Ramadan allowed me to see not only how thankful I should be but also how important giving to charity is. I do not give to charity as much as I would like to considering that I am a still student and currently not employed. However, when I am on my feet comfortably I endeavour to make that right.

Actually, I’ve just remembered a quote that completely flies in the face of what I just said…

“Charity sees the need, not the cause.”

German Proverb

Whilst giving charity is important in the short term, for the long term we need to find and fix the root causes.

I sincerely hope that those who took part in this challenge will continue to be active in any way, shape or form no matter how small it may be.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

Ryunosuke Satoro

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