Blog post

Halfway through Living Below the Line

3 min read
1 May 2013

It's Live Below the Line week! To find out why I'm living on a pound a day, see my earlier post. I and the rest of the team have been 'living below the line' for two days now, and are very grateful to all our wonderful sponsors, who have managed to put the GWWC team at the top of the team leaderboard, with over £15,000 raised and being donated to SCI, to help them continue treating neglected tropical diseases in the poorest countries, and in one of the most cost-effective ways.

I planned my meals out before going shopping, making sure that I bought enough to avoid hunger pangs. Interestingly, I found out that if I voided the big bunch of bananas I had scanned and put them through separately, I was actually able to afford more!


I started off with a 45 minute run (quickly deciding that keeping this up all week might be a bad idea), followed by banana cooked into porridge, made with water. Oddly this was better than the cereal I'm used to.

Lunch was jam sandwiches and a banana, taking me right back to school packed lunches.

Getting peckish and cold during the day, I managed to consume a can of rice pudding and a fair amount of diet cola too. A coffee meeting in the afternoon became a meeting where I sat and politely sipped water- I think that this sort of thing will prove the most annoyingly restrictive part of the week.

Total so far: 45p

Dinner was the most entertaining meal of the day, and surprisingly tasty due to the lack of fresh ingredients. I don't know if I can call it chili, but I made a stew out of kidney beans, mushy peas, passata, tomatoes and brown sauce.

I realised too late that value canned products come without easy-to-open lids, and, lacking a proper can opener, managed to prize them open with an attachment to a corkscrew that my dad had shown me how to use four years ago. I never thought I would need to use that information. I made enough dinner to last me all week, and with 100g of spaghetti the meal cost 32p. At the end of day one I didn't feel hungry at all, and was fairly confident that the week would go smoothly.

Total after day one: £1.01


A pattern has emerged in my diet: porridge, sandwich, chili. Fortunately, I enjoy it.

Total after day two: £1.87


So far I am halfway through and on track for completing the week as planned.

Total up to this point: £2.26

This week is supposed to be a challenge. Yes, I have planned it. And yes, I'm regulating my meals quite carefully, but what has been brought home to me is quite how much I have, rather than how little.

This is partly in the sense that while my diet is restricted, I still have all the other luxuries I am used to, including electricity, clean water, and free medical care.

I can only imagine the fear and hopelessness that someone forced to live without basic utilities would feel, cutting into their meagre food budget only as a last resort. The fact that I am used to frankly spending so much on food and other luxuries has helped me to realise that this week is only really about dipping my toe into the ocean of poverty.

I hope that by doing this challenge I can raise awareness of Schistosomiasis Control initiative, so they can continue to do great and effective work to help people for whom poverty is a reality.

The Giving What We Can team is currently topping the Live Below the Line leaderboard for fundraising, having raised £15,000, or enough to deworm 30,000 children for a year. To support SCI's amazing work further, please sponsor me or anyone else from the team.

The Giving What We Can team who are living below the line:

Steph Crampin

Abbie Taylor

Sally Murray

Samuel Hilton

Jess Whittlestone

Mukund Bangalore

Jenny Jacobs

Erwan Atcheson

Joeri Kooimans

Joey Savoie

Helen Llewellyn

Xio Kikauka