Blog: Living under the poverty line

I am now 50 days into the walk and we have certainly had our ups and downs but the hardest thing without a doubt has been living under the poverty line.

I set myself the challenge of completing the entire trip spending just US$1.50 per day on food to simulate what it is like for the billions who live below the poverty line every day. So my eating on this trip has been very basic to say the least. Here is an insight into what it has been like.

  • For breakfast it is either porridge or cornflakes with a cup of tea
  • Lunch is usually just dry 2 minute noodles or a sandwich
  • Afternoon tea is a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts
  • Dinner is rice or pasta with a sauce made from onion, tomato, carrot and tomato puree with a bit of seasoning, plus a couple of cups of tea
  • I keep hydrated with water or cheap cordial

breakfast     lunch     snack     dinner

You might think that doesn’t sound too bad other than the obvious lack of variety. Well the portion sizes are quiet small to stay under the US$1.50 and there is no going back for seconds. Shopping is also less enjoyable now, walking past all the nice looking food that I know we can’t afford and working out how to make ends meet on so little is somewhat depressing.

We have however learnt to be smart in a few ways to cut down on costs and sometimes cook our own bread in the fire and if we can get cheap potatoes we also roast them in the fire and that helps to keep the carbohydrates up. I also reuse my tea bag 3 times to save on costs there!

To date I have lost just on 15 kilos and 8 of them where in the first 11 days of the walk. It has taken my body a fair bit of time to get used to living like this and to be honest I don’t think it has adjusted fully. Many times the hunger pains are so bad I feel like I am going to faint, my stomach is eating away at itself in ways it never has before. My judgement on things isn’t the same as what it normally is which I put down to my brain crying out for more nutrients. I even start questioning myself on even the most simple of things.

Whilst we have survived it is no way to live a life, going to bed at night hungry is awful and having to walk 17 or 18kms before having something to eat has been extremely tough. I know it has given me a greater appreciation of how the poor in the world live and for them to get up each day not knowing where their next meal is coming from shows great courage.

This experiment has proven a couple of things to me; that no one should ever have to live like this and we need to do more to help the world’s poor.

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