Live Below the Line has been “bitter-sweet” experience for us. Finally, a fundraising challenge that anyone and everyone could relate to. A topic that everyone has an opinion on. A subject that requires deep awareness and sharing. We're incredibly blessed with a freedom of “choice” and the ability to eat when we want and what we want. We believe that through an event such as this is the best way to raise awareness, funds for community projects and educate and share with the people around us in our inner circles and further a field.
This five day challenge has proven to be one of the most difficult fundraising events that Alice and I have ever done so far. It is more challenging than 10K, ½ Marathon in Cornwall and Tesco bag packing.
In the UK, £1 a day can definitely fill the tummy. We have been filling our tummy with rice, eggs, sausages, rice, eggs, sausages and more rice, eggs and sausages. Variety. A word and choices that we are born with from Day One. We came to realise that it is truly a privilege to have a selection in our food choices each new day and being able to drink clean water, juice, tea, coffee or hot chocolate - Decisions, Decisions, Decisions..!
What is it like to live with £1 a day? Well…initially, it was like a game…We thought we could do it easily. As day 2 and 3 kicked in, we struggled with satisfying our spoiled pallet and our fleshy desire. Suddenly, it wasn't so fun anymore. It turned into an extremely humbling experience, where we see our own weaknesses through what seemed to be the most basic necessities - food.
Our bodies were slowly adapting through Day One and Two. We started to feel the psychological and physical effects of living on a staple of rice, eggs and frozen sausages. The physical sugar-rush: up and down of being reliant on our rice-carbohydrates. The mental challenges of focus, concentration levels and then trying to demand a variety in making our food both interesting, fun but also edible with the exact same ingredients as the day before. There is something subtly eye-opening about this fundraiser. Yes - it's about raising awareness and looking through the lens of what “Extreme Poverty” is. But there's also the notion that our “Experiment” is only temporary. Five days and it's back to normal. Post the photos and share the experience on Facebook and raise the awareness and then we're back to “normal” by the weekend. We not only have a choice with our food supplements but also with our lifestyle. Over 1.2 billion people worldwide don't have this choice.
So does choice make our lives better? Is it about a social standard of “normality?” If it's normal to live like this in this country and then it's normal to live like that in another … does that make it ok? How does a world so abundant and rich in resource become so divided?
Over the last 4 years, Alice and I have been truly blessed to meet people living on daily basics and a budget like this. What's remarkable is that these people both adult and child alike are the probably the happiest people we have ever met. There's a real authentic inner joy that continues to shine through them despite their own circumstances. They might not have much but with what they do have, they want to both welcome you into their home and then they insist on sharing their food with you. A stranger. It doesn't make any sense. It's completely upside down. How many people friend or family do we know who would have that same hospitality, passion or joy?
This social injustice is one that is worth fighting for. We know change takes time and a lot of it. It's painful and frustrating. But if we try and stride forward one tiny step at a time, we know at least we're trying to make a difference moving forward in the right direction.
Thank you to everyone for all your amazing support and encouragement over these 5 days. The response and support has truly been phenomenal. The experience extremely humbling. Will you consider raising further awareness and funds by living below the line next time?