I did it!! Twelve days of living on £1 per day for all my food and drink as part of The Global Poverty Project’s Live Below The Line campaign.
I took the challenge for an extra seven days over and above the official 5 day challenge, and there were moments during my dozen days below the line that I truly felt like I had made a ridiculous decision in adding the extra full week onto it.
Last year, I lived below the line for five days and found it a challenge………what possessed me to do extra this year?!
The answer is simple. In addition to the fact that I like a challenge, the extra time allowed more time for those conversations with friends, work colleagues, random internet acquaintances, about the issue of extreme poverty. It allowed for more time for me to experience the challenges of living on such a low amount and to reflect on the effects it had on my life. It gave more time for more people to find out about the challenge and to add their support.
This morning I returned to normal and enjoyed a delicious breakfast, but I am acutely aware that while I can return to my normality, millions of others do not have that option at this time. While the thousands of people around the world who have taken the challenge are returning to their normal diets, the fight continues for the 1.4 billion who continue to live in extreme poverty.
On day eleven of my twelve below the line, I experienced the lowest part of my challenge, but also probably the most eye-opening moment too. My body was tired and lethargic due to lack of certain nutritional elements and a generally low amount of food, and I was going to a concert with my sister. I had arranged to meet my sister at her flat before we walked to the concert. Her flat is approximately 20 minutes walk from my own place, a distance that on a normal day with a normal diet would be easy. Yet, I found myself exhausted by the time I had battled my way through the torrential Scottish rain and wind to her door. We then had a 30 minute walk to the concert at a cathedral – again, a distance that on a normal day with a normal diet would not faze me at all. By the time we arrived at the concert, I felt my body starting to protest, and I was extremely glad of the couple of hours sitting down time. However, this distance had to again be repeated on my walk home, in the rain and the cold, at 10pm after a day at work. My body and my mind were tired, and I felt myself begin to get tearful. My legs were aching when they normally would have been fine, and all I wanted was to close my eyes and magic myself back into my warm and cosy flat. By the time I got home, and climbed into bed, I fell asleep immediately.
I couldn’t help but think of the people who live in extreme poverty, without all the nutrition that they need, who also walk for miles every day for essentials like clean drinking water, or their travel to sell their produce at the market. I was exhausted, and I had only been living like this for 12 days. What if that was my every day life? The strength and resilience of these people amazes me.
Please remember you can still donate until the end of May on my Live Below The Line Page.
You can also read about my reasons for taking this challenge in my 12 Days, 12 Reasons post.
Over the next few days I will be blogging about and featuring further links to projects, campaigns and people who are fighting against extreme poverty. Stay tuned, keep reading – the fight does not end here.