Day 1 & 2: Live Below the Line
Paul Crome, WSCF Europe Senior Friend, has taken Christian Aid’s challenge to spend 5 days feeding himself with £1 a day – the UK equivalent of the extreme poverty line. Here are some excerpts from his blog of the experience. You can read his full reflections and see his photos here.
Today is my first day living below the line and so far I have to say it’s going pretty well. Breakfast this morning was plain porridge made with just oats and water, which was plain but not too unpleasant. I then set about making the food I’ll be eating twice a day for the rest of the week, which is something like a lentil daal: loads of lentils, nine potatoes, three onions, three carrots, three litres of water, a tablespoon of salt and half a tablespoon of ground cumin. It actually tastes delicious – I have made truly epic amounts, so that’s a good thing!
I really hope by doing Live Below the Line to gain a different, more authentic understanding of what it is like to live below the poverty line for disadvantaged communities all over the world I met some incredible people forced to live in extreme poverty when I travelled to Tajikistan with Christian Aid in January; to be in solidarity with them and millions of others, to raise awareness of their situations and to raise money for the important work Christian Aid is doing to help them, I feel like I need to experience something of what it feels like to live with such limited spending power and so few choices.
I’m increasingly realising that I actually have far more food than I need this week – I’ve probably made enough to feed two people on! This has made it quite difficult for me to empathise with the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world. I can, however, consider how I find myself to be in this position, whereas those genuinely living on £1 a day struggle to find enough to eat – I may be choosing to live in poverty this week comparable to many in the UK, but I am still in the privileged position of having choices. Poverty is as much about a lack of choosing power as it is a lack of spending power.
Having said all of this, I am still finding living below the line to have plenty of challenges. I have much less energy than I usually do, and this affects my mood and almost everything else about how I approach the day. The monotony is beginning to get to me a bit too. I am, however, greatly heartened by the incredible amount of support I’m receiving – my total sponsorship went up to £212 today, which is more than I ever thought I’d raise. I’m really grateful for the generosity of everybody who’s donated, your money is making a real difference to some of the world’s poorest communities.
If you want to support Paul or any of the others participating in Live Below the Line this week please check out their website.