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Reflecting on my Live Below The Line experience

March 16, 2012

The reason I decided to take part in this challenge is because I believe it is possible to end extreme poverty so that no one has to go to bed hungry. But to make a real change to poverty, we first need to understand it. The best way to understand it is it experience it for ourselves. Live Below The Line gives us this opportunity. We are all very knowlegable about global poverty. We recognise it when we see it, and we sympathise with those suffering at its hands. But only by experiecning it for ourselves can we gain real empathy.

There are not many campaigns out there that allow to really understand at an emotional level the realities of extreme poverty. That is what is so powerful about this campaign. It allows people to really engage with the issue of global poverty and encourages them to create a long term commitment to the cause.

I undertook the challenge from the 5th-11th March because I wanted to encourage other people to take part in the challenge in May. However, I realised that many people who wanted to take part were unsure how to go about it. By doing the challenge early I was able to show people not only that it can be done, but how it can be done.

I anticiapted that it was going to be a challenge. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how much it was going to change the way I think about food so drastically.

The first thing I noticed, after finishing my first day, was how I was not greated with that feeling of satisfaction after a meal. I had enough to eat, and I was definitely full. So why wasn’t I feeling satisfied? That was simply because the food I was eating was rather basic and bland. It dawned on my pretty quickly thought that I wasn’t eating the food for enjoyment or pleasure, as I usually would have, I was eating food for the simple reason that my body needed it. I ate to keep going, to keep my energy levels up, and quite simply.. I ate to survive.

And then I thought, how lucky am I that I actually get to eat food for the sheer pleasure of it? When I go to a restaurant I don’t go because I need to, I go because I want to, because I relate food with pleasure, not survival. And then I think about how millions of people in the world, who are living in extreme poverty, have never experienced food the way we have.

When you are faced with having so little to eat, you have to think about what your body needs, not what it wants. Engery, vitamins, protein, fat… the list goes on and on. But with such limited funds, you soon realise that its just not possible to have a proper balanced diet. When you see photos of undernourished children in Africa – swollen bellies and sunken cheeks. It’s not just that they’re not getting enough food, they not getting enough of the kinds of foods their bodies so desperately need.

£1 a day is enough for 2 basic meals, leaving roughly 5p for everything else. It’s understandable why so many people in the world are starving when they have £1 a day or less to live off of everything, not just their food and drink, but their shelter, school fees, medicine, clothing…

While my choice was between ‘Pub or no pub?, for millions of others its the choice between one childs school fees and another childs hospital fees. A mothers choice of whether to make sure her children’s bellys are full or make sure they have a roof over their head tonight. It has really put my own lifestyle into persepctive.

I am so proud to have taken part in this campaign, and I encourage as many people to Live Below The Line for RESULTS as possible, because it is such a worthwhile cause.

I am so grateful for all the support everyone has given me while I’ve been Living Below The Line. I still have a long way to go to reach my target. So please keep up the support and help me raise £500 for RESULTS UK so they can continue their effots to ensure that at children with disabilities are no longer forgotten, that their voices are heard loud and clear, and that the governments of the world are making sure that disability is no obstacle to education.

Donate to me by following the link: http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/bia

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One Comment
  1. Tina de Souza permalink

    So true and i saw it first hand with you and your very basic choice of meals ….. So proud of what you are going x

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