One of those long blogs: My Live below the line Challenge/Experience
(Challenged undertaken on the 5.5.14)
I was always told about this challenge and at some point to be honest I didn't want to join in. Why? I don't know, maybe it was the fear of not being able to complete the challenge.
But this time around, this awesome guy by the name of Caleb Meakins and his Amazing Team introduced this challenge again through their Facebook page called: SHIFT.
This time my perspective was different. What had changed? My attitude. It was no longer a fear of not being able to complete the challenege, but more about actively making a difference in the world we live in each day.
I had always wanted to do an outreached/mission trip to Africa and places classfied as poverty striken but never really had the finances to go.
So to do 'Live below the Line (LBTL): Tear Fund' this to me was my active way of helping.
Incase you didn't know anything about this LBTL movement, check out this video below:
So where do I start?
I used to have a budget of spending £5 a day, but now that budget had to change to £1 a day. Big difference right?
The night of 4.5.2014 I didn't get to sleep until 5am staying up doing my administration for Beautiful Faces and to prepare for this chanellenge. As a result of late night/morning work, I woke up with a bad headache. That for me was the first bad move.
However remaining determined to kick start this challenege I still was able to go and get my £5 groceries. Which to me on such a tight budget was hard enough to do, especially as the famous saying goes 'don't go food shopping on an empty stomach'. Considering all I had for that morning/afternoon was the good old tap water.
I had seen other LBTL participants shopping and thought they did really well. But to be honest, I thought I could do better, but where did this whole competivite attitude come from, and wasn't this all in aid of a great cause? Yes, my mindset came correct as I stepped into Asda to do my shopping. Prayer was rolling over my tounge and my headache was still not helping. 'Lord Please Help Me'.
(My Empty purse...only £5 & my driving ID no cards....)
(My day 1 video - after coming back from Asda)
At this point I felt one of the main part of this challenge for me was getting people to support me and beleieve in what I was doing, where even they themselves could help in the best way they know how.
I remember asking one of my brothers if he wanted to support me. And this is what he said 'Faith you can't live on £1 a day, what about transportation to work....?' So I said, I bought that yesterday, sorted! (Its called planning ahead) Because I knew I wanted to undergo this challenefge without no loose ends.
He did raise a good point though. To really undergo this challenege it would mean, walking for miles to get to work, of just not working at all.
But then another thought came to me. If we all had this perspective then we will all think we are not in the right position let alone capable to take on this challenge and not cause any awareness, so that extra thought was not needed. I had to do what I had to do and that is why this challenge was based on FOOD not transportation etc.
Despite all this already..... I pressed on.
This is what I came out of Asda with:
Not too bad right? And I had 0.15p left. I actually bought way too much poatoes so I had to exchange them for the Rich tea fingers (biscuits/cookies) in the blue pack to your left. This was one of the best choices ever.... You will see why, do read on:
This day was REAL HARD!
I had gone back to work after the bank holiday weekend and felt like I couldn't really function properly as I was making my journey into work. Weakness was trying to creep in.
I got to my desk and surprisngly as I began to work, I beleive I did pretty well for the first couple of hours. I tucked into my first meal of the day: Mini strawberry youghurt with a banana & hot water. That only quenced my hunger for that part of the day.... Even typing this now, I can still taste that moment. (wow)
Soon came 12' O colck and of cause this was lunch time in the office. People began to eat their lunch and all the different nice food smells started to grace the atompshere. What could I do, my stomach was reaching out towards all the difference smells, chinese, roast, sandwhiches etc. I did the one thing I know best to do: PRAY! and so I did.
'Lord please let the food smell feel me up'. And of cause I didn't feel as hungry as I did before, it was like my stomach took a realx back and told itself it will wait a bit longer till I was ready to eat.
I ended up going on lunch later on that day at about 3.16pm. It was time for my curry flavoured noodle. Yep, that was it! My simple 20p noodles went down well, I don't think I ever tasted 20p noodles like that before, finishing off with my rich tea fingers.
But was I not gald when it was home time. Of course, I was ready in waiting to get out those doors. I knew if I went home, I still had bread or more rich tea fingers to nibble on... But at work, nothing. I couldn't go to the vending machine or the shops. I had to wait.
Dinner became: Roast potatoes without butter or oil but with some of my tinned baked beans and susage mix with a bit of salad on the side, and this is what it looked like:
I must admit the salad tasted rather bland no matter how much I tried to use the flavours of the susage and beans mixed with it....Yikes! (you will try anything).
But yet still after this I remained hungry. Why? Was it the thoguht of having to eat the same thing again for the next three days. Or was it the thought that I could'nt eat as much as I would normally do, especailly when being in a house where there is food galore all around?
That was it... I was already tired and still feeling weak so went to sleep.
Wednesday nice to see you. At this point I was happy that we were in mid week. I actually felt proud of myself that I made it this far.
I had that extra drive to keep on going and if I had learnt anything it was that I couldn't give up. For those in poverty they don't have a choice. This is their life on a daily bases, but for us who have a little bit more, we have extra choices.
Part of me felt spolit, I felt ungreatful when I still felt hungry, I felt like I could relate and always my heart went out to those who were feeling the same. When hunger striked even though I had already eatten I used that time to not focus on trying to get more food, but to PRAY for those who had none.
Some of you could be thinking, awww that's a nice thing for you to do... But to me, that was the RIGHT thing to do. For at least once in our lives, could we not just take the focus off what we want and place it on others in helping through prayer, giving and love?
On Day 3 I became really light aheaded. I felt like I was going to faint, so I had to go to bed straight away. But before this, I drank water to conqueror any forms of dehydration, but even still that didn't really help. Water at this point became so unpleasen't to drink.
There came a point where things that normally would be done, had to be changed. For example the night before I prepared my toast for the morning banana and brown toast meal. Of course I wasn't paying attention and burnt the toast. Now normally I would have thrown that away as I am not a fan of eatting burnt toast, but at this point there was no time for being picky. I had to make do. So despite feeling embrassed at work warming this up, it had to be done because every food I had was vitaully important.
But I must say, I found that there were some food prepartions that I have undergone through this challenge that I feel I might still carry on with considering they do not taste too bad after all, plus it saves money big time.
On the morning of 8.5.14 I had an earlier start than normal, it did take a bit of a toll on me as of my journey into work like of the first day, but a few shut eyed moments and prayer got me through.
I drank a cup of hot water and that went down really well too; as I have said before, I am so grateful for the fact that I drink herbal tea, becasue this helped hughely with only drinking hot water, very similar.
At this point, my heart still went out to those who have to go through the hunger, starvations on a daily basis, for me that can change tomorrow, but for others it is only still the hope that maybe rescue will come, it breaks my heart.
I completely understood what God said here: 'There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.' Deuteronomy 15:11
Some people still cannot believe I took on this challenege and thought it would not be possible, so not only did I prove them wrong, I have also caused a greater awareness of this issue at work, at home and amongst my friends/social network... Yipieeeee. I had learnt, if we don't take action in the best way we know how, how then will people in need be helped?
There was an extra excitment. There was extra joy building up, why? I looked at my food pile, but it was decreasing, what did this mean? The challenge was coming to the end. I had one more day to go and then that was it, it would be all over. But part of me felt sad as it was a big eye opener experience. It became apart of my life style. But I must admit, I did start to get to that point of thinking of all the things I could possibly eat.
THE FINAL DAY
As I eat my final 'Live below the line' meal for that afternoon, I briefly reflected on the journey. Yes it had been a challenge and yes I truly believe that I had felt a bit of what the 1.6 billion individuals in poverty has been going through daily.
My heart continued to go out to them all, even as I write this blog today, because truly in my opinion, this is not a way to live. But at the same time, they are living and having so much joy despite what they are going through & do not have.
Does this challenge and awareness continue to put things into better perspective for me? Of course, to waste food is not an option for me, whether my toast becomes burnt or not, I have to make do. I done it through this challenge and I can say I will do it again. I honestly can see where I have taken eating food, buying groceries for granted and hope I learn completely from this challenge to not do so anymore.
Mentally & spiritually it has humbled me, to know we are no better than those who are in poverty, but yet still we might act like it because of the privileges we may have... and of course we won't come out and say that. We might seem better off because of the many options we have but then doesn't that just make us seem spoilt??? My work colleague told me of a time he was in South Africa and how something as simple as 'plain bread' was appreciated in these areas of poverty. Creating awareness in any area of the world’s struggles is one thing, but to take action in whatever areas we can is where the change begins.
As for me a challenege is never really a challenge unless you step out and do it afraid. You get to defeat your fear, walk with your head lifted high and no longer need to live in guilt of wishing you could help or make a difference because you know you have already done so in the best way you know how.
It is one to to look upon others achievements and accomplishments, but it is another thing to see your great gifts and drive and use it where God sees fit for you to be great and mightly used for his glory.
I was able to do this challenege can you?
So some of you might be asking what was the first thing I ate once the challenege was over: Crunchy nut cornflasks... Then later on in the afternoon/evening was Nandos. That was so HARDDDDDD to eat...that even after one fork bite I was done... My friend had to tell me to keep on eatting. After I did I felt sick, food overload????
But now I can say I am back into the routine of eatting, but I tend to eat in moderation :)
I would like to send a speacial thanks to all who supported me through this challenge by donating, praying and spreading the awareness of breaking poverty around.
Thanks to all my donators thus far:
If you still want to help me met my target of £100 please feel free to stop by my page and donate away. Currenltly I am on £80.
Thanks in advance.
God is Love and He loves you ever so DEARLY!
By: Faith Dore
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