Live Below the Line – Finding Food for $2 a day

I have a few friends who do great things with the Oaktree Foundation and have done the Live Below the Line challenge in recent years. Oaktree works in some of the world’s poorest countries, including Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. They believe that education is key to breaking the poverty cycle, so money raised goes directly to building schools, buying textbooks, training teachers and providing scholarships to students. If $35 can buy a whole shelf of books, imagine what even $10 could do!

The Live Below the Line challenge is to experience what it is to live below the poverty line – about AU$2 a day – for five days. I have always wanted to do it, but in the past either I was running away overseas or writing a thesis at the time, so it never really happened – but not this year! I’m looking forward to challenging myself to do something difficult. It’s difficult for me but this is a reality for so many people. While travelling through Southeast Asia I have been confronted with poverty often. I’ve walked through shanty towns, been harried by hawkers, been followed by rickshaw drivers and street children asking for coins, seen Agent Orange victims begging on the side of the road and visited hilltribe villages where women with babies strapped to their backs try to sell us tourists scarves and trinkets. However, seeing it and living it are two very different things, and although my living on $2 a day for a week certainly won’t come close to how they live everyday, I can think of those people I met in Southeast Asia and hope that I’m a little bit closer to understanding what life for them is like.

$10 for a weeks worth of food is really very little, particularly with the ever increasing cost of food. Many end up eating a lot of oats and bread and frozen vegetables, one of my friends went very hardcore and spent the entire five days eating nothing but rice! Striking a balance is really the key so I have spent the last week trying to get together a meal plan which is not only cheap, but is also tasty and includes some protein and vitamins so I don’t keel over from malnutrition before this is over! This is what I decided on:

Meal Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast Flat bread w. butter

Banana

Flat bread w. butter

Banana

Flat bread w. butter

Banana

Flat bread w. butter

Banana

Flat bread w. butter

Banana

Lunch Tomato pasta

 

Tomato soup

 

Tibetan noodle soup Tomato pasta

 

Tomato soup

 

Dinner Dahl w. flat bread and boiled veg. Dahl w. flat bread and boiled veg.

 

Tomato pasta

 

Dahl w. flat bread and boiled veg.

 

Dahl w. flat bread and boiled veg.

 

So much flatbread! But with 1kg of plain flour being as little as $0.75 it is really the best value food I can get my hands on!

I start tomorrow, so today is being spent eating as much comfort food as possible, washed down with cup after cup of tea! If you want more information about what Live Below the Line is about please look up their website: https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/ Or even better if you want to support this cause you can go to my page and make a tax deductable donation! https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/zoeallen

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