"Mum, since we're pretending to be poor this week, can we not go to school?"
I praised him for his wit, and he soon asked me if he could play on the computer.
"Well, if we're pretending to be poor this week, then you probably shouldn't be having computer time".
"Ok", he says "I won't play computer if I don't have to go to school". Gotta love that kid.
After Mr 11 coined this phrase, it was the basis of many conversations through our five days of feeding ourselves for only $2 per person per day. We thought of all the things that would be eliminated from our lives if this challenge extended to more than just limiting our food budget. We had great discussions around the dinner table as we read our book "Hungry Planet" and compared our normal lives to those in other countries. I thought about it as I routinely drove myself around in one of the two vehicles we own. I thought about it as I turned on my electric blanket at night to warm my cold feet. I thought about it as I tucked my boys into their warm, comfy beds in their individual rooms, under our weather-tight, substantially sized roof. I thought about it as I cooked a simple pasta and tomato meal worth $2.80 for four people in an electronic machine valued at nearly $2000. Believe me, the irony did not escape me.
But then on the other hand, I realised what a big thing this small change been. This small change in our lives ended up being a really big deal in the life of our family over the week. All we talked about was food. Constantly adding figures in our head to see if we could afford that little bit extra at the end of the day. Devising what we'd eat tomorrow to get the most mileage for our money. Discussing the taste of the food and how much we were looking forward to something with more flavour and more variety of ingredients. I realised that I was eating merely to fuel my body, rather than for the enjoyment of eating. It had no appeal. And hubby and I were TIRED. Eating that much carbohydrate and very little protein is tough on the digestion, and tough on the immune system and generally just tough on the human body.
We realised what a big deal it actually is to have to live like this. We chose to eat like this for a week, and it kind of consumed us. The majority of the world has little choice but to eat like this (and most likely in less quantity) every.single.day.
It really feels quite awful.
It's pretty hard to function when you're in a carb-induced brain fade. It's kind of a downer to know that you're going to be eating the same thing every.single.day.
We've banned that word from our house.
I'm hungry. I wasn't hungry at any other time of the day on any of the five days. Don't know why it's hit me every night at 9pm, but there it is. And it's frustrating and feels very out-of-control to not be able to put something in my belly when it tells me it needs it.
We have made a ridiculously small attempt at 'pretending to be poor' this week. I am thankful we did it. I hope that we will continue to be more thankful each day for what we have, and to remember that just because we have it, doesn't mean it should be ours to keep. Gifts are for giving away, and our life is a gift. Everything in it. We were gifted this country of our birth, we've done nothing to earn living here and being given all the incredible freedoms that come with this lottery-win. I'm hoping that 'pretending to be poor' for a week will help us to always remember this. If not, we may have to do it again next year ;-)
You can donate to the cause until June 30, 2014. All money raised goes to much needed education in East Timor and Papua New Guinea. Here's the link to the 'Food, Glorious Friendly Food' team page: https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/team/food-glorious-friendly-food
And here's the link to Karen's personal fundraising page: https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/karen_stevenson
If you'd like to read about why we did this challenge in the first place, click here.
If you'd like to get an idea of the kinds of things we ate, click here.
I truly appreciate all the support from the 'Food, Glorious Friendly Food' community while we did this challenge. Thank you for being there with us. Karen.