In week #38 I committed to partake in the Live Below the Line challenge. The time has now come for me to live on £1 a day for food and drink for 5 days. Instead of a ‘small change’ this week I will be posting daily reflections as I, accompanied by my ever-supportive husband, take up the challenge in order to better understand what it might feel like to live in extreme poverty.
Already the difficulties of living on such a meagre sum are becoming evident. A couple of friends want to meet up in the week ahead but my food budget does not extend to ‘socialising’. If I go to their home I arrive empty-handed and if I invite them over I can’t even offer a cup of tea! Already I am starting to grasp the restrictiveness of poverty as I feel isolated from those who are not in the same position as me.
The novelty of doing a weekly shop on a £10 budget aroused a couple of laughs while Fox and I scavenged for Sunday evening reductions in the grocery store. Yet, the giggles subsided as the realisation hit home that this is an ongoing reality for so many. Equally humbling was producing our goods at the checkout. I wanted to tell the cashier that we were buying the 57p sausages because we are taking a poverty challenge so that she wouldn’t feel sorry for us. Realistically she probably couldn’t care less but my poverty makes me self-conscious.
I am both excited and anxious about the week ahead. Will I be hungry? Do we have enough food to make it through the week? Will my husband be grumpy because he hasn’t had his daily meat ration which is essential to the well-being of every South African male? As I type this I am taking my last few sips of Rooibos tea while munching a Marks & Spencer chocolate biscuit and enjoying every bit of such a luxury in anticipation of an interesting week ahead. If you would like to support us and those who live in extreme poverty you can do so here. Any amount, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.