My original intent was to include a picture of my dinner last night in this post….but then I got way too excited and scarfed it down without remembering to take the picture. Sorry.
Let me give you an image. One fried egg on top of half of a microwaved potato (why not in the oven? cuz I’m lazy, that’s why), accompanied by four heaping spoonfuls of strawberry yogurt. Why am I so excited by such a meager meal you might ask? Well, let me tell you about that…
It’s called Live Below the Line. This week I’m joining a movement of young people all over the world who are eating on $1.50 per day for five days in an effort to start conversations about what it means to live below the poverty line. Let me make it perfectly clear that I don’t think I’m actually experiencing what it’s like to be poor. Far from it. I’m not trying to assuage any sort of guilt or let myself off the hook when it comes to future action and advocacy to eliminate poverty. What I am trying to do is give myself a small taste of what it means to be hungry, and, in the process, I hope to be more aware of my privilege and blessings in everyday life.
There are some limitations of Live Below the Line in my opinion:
-I’m starving, and I live a fairly sedentary life while at school. Go to work, sit. Come home and do homework, sit. Go to bed, lay down. Most of the 1.4 billion under the poverty line make their living with hard labor and farming. I honestly can not imagine doing any sort of labor on such an empty stomach.
-Most working mothers under the poverty line aren’t just stretching that $1.50 per day to feed themselves, they’re also feeding children. Nuff said.
-The most obvious one is the fact that I’m only using that $1.5o for food! Forget rent, water, health care, insurance, school fees, transportation, and unexpected expenses. My mind is blown.
-There is a light at the end of the tunnel for me. I’m seriously looking forward to Saturday breakfast, and we’re all going to get together and cook an early breakfast feast. Hell, that’s practically like rewarding myself for living on $1.50/day for 5 days. There is no such light, no such reward, for everyone else.
Despite the obvious flaws, I think LBTL can be a phenomenal exercise as long as we have realistic expectations of it. It isn’t meant to give us a taste of what true poverty is like, but it can be a way to stand in solidarity with those who face reality of extreme poverty, hunger, illness, and oppression day in and day out. It’s an act of frustration and had-enoughness, an act that says we’re sick of the inequities we see in the world, and we don’t want them to persist any longer. So here I go. I’m sick of being so incredibly lucky while others worry about their next meal simply because of the coordinates of my first cry. So I’m Living Below the Line this week. I’m doing what I can, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
You can join me by donating to GlobeMed’s fundraising page! Just indicate who you’re donating to and for what reason in the dedication. Thanks everyone.