Living on porridge and making pea soup: I’m living below the line

20130429-151914.jpg50 grammes of porridge isn’t very much. And it’s fairly tasteless on its own, but I’d ran out of money so couldn’t afford even the cheapest jam, honey or golden syrup.

For £1 I’ve got a pot of broth on the hob that will be my lunch for the entire week. A bag of split green peas, a carrot, an onion and part of a swede. And to do this this with the greatest level of integrity I have to account for the shake of salt, pepper and parsley from my shelf.

And yes, the pot is still on the hob and won’t be ready until gone 3pm. And this is my lunch. Good job I’ve got a day off work as I start living below the line for a week. Time in the morning to go shopping, time to prepare cheap but labour and time intensive food. A luxury I won’t have time for the rest of the week, so today’s goods will be divided up, put into boxes along with 3 slices of value bread.

I had to put food back on the shelf at the supermarket. I couldn’t afford as many eggs as I would have liked. If I want to drink tea, which I do, I’ll have to forego an apple one day.

If you haven’t came across Live Below the Line before, let me explain. Across the world 1.4billion people live in extreme poverty while we are too busy buying happy meals. This is twenty times the number of people in the UK living on the equivalent of less than £1 a day. This isn’t one of our pounds taken over to different countries, it is calculated through purchasing power parity – adjusting prices for different countries. More details are available about the calculations on the Live Below the Line site.

So for five days I am joining with many others and living on £1 per day. That’s why my caffeine intact will be down, why I’ll have a small breakfast, the same lunch each day, and an unexciting rice and beans dinner, on a couple of days I get to have eggs.

This is not just a stunt. It’s not just an exercise in embodied empathy, but hopefully it will do that. It’s about learning what many, far too many, go through each and every day. They cannot look forward to Saturday like me, when I can have a fry up.

Live Below the Line is also a fantastic way of raising money for charities who are doing vital work in many of the countries those 1.4 billion people live in. I’m joining up with Tearfund as I live below the line this week, and I would love if you could sponsor me – all the money goes direct to them.

SPONSOR ME NOW!!! (Forgive the poor etiquette, this is important.)

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