Living Below The Line: Reflections on my week under $1.50 a day

Photo credit: Ashley Amelia 

From April 28 to May 2, my husband and I, along with 25,000 other people, lived on $1.50 each per day for the Global Poverty Project’s “Live Below The Line” challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness for the 1 billion people in poor countries who live in extreme poverty, under $1.50 – the poverty line – each day. Read Part 1,  Part 2 & Part 3.

Last week, the Live Below the Line experience has forced my husband and I out of our normal daily comforts to consider how many live below the poverty line. I will not whine anymore about giving up our normal diet for beans, rice and other low cost staples. For 842 million people worldwide, hunger is a very real issue on a daily basis – 98 percent of which live in developing nations.

This experience has made us both more mindful of the sad impact of world hunger and, for me, connected an experience I had in my youth to the present situation.   

One time, when I was six or seven years old, I was roaming through an apple orchard in search of the perfect apple. The time of season must have been late autumn as very few apples remained on the trees. I spied a lone apple high in a tree. I was determined that this apple will be mine.

The apple was beyond my reach. I attempted shaking the tree; my small body running at top speed colliding with the tree trunk. I tried climbing the tree to no avail. In desperation, I removed my tennis shoes and threw them at the apple hoping to knock it down. No luck.

I called out to my father for help. He lifted me up, but the branches obstructed me from reaching the apple. At 6’ 2” my father, a strong man, reached a higher branch, shook the tree, immediately freeing the apple.

As I fast forward to our present experience living below the line, I envision the world food supply as an abundant apple tree sufficient to feed the entire population. It is a fact that the world food supply can do this. Yet, the reality of our world deteriorates this vision.

In many nations, the apples are out of reach due to lack of electricity, poor agricultural infrastructure, unreliable water supply and economic inequalities. For some, the branches of the tree are marred by greed, resource control and corruption weakening the people’s ability to share in its wealth and resources. Sometimes, the tree is barren due to disease, natural disasters, drought and climate-related conditions. While others go hungry from fleeing their homes, displaced, as war and conflict uproot the tree.

A bleak reality exists as I view the world food supply tree and its relation to hunger. Yet, there is hope for the hungry within my own developed country and within developing nations.

This week, the 25,000 participants in Live Below the Line, including my husband and I, united as one voice raising hunger awareness; shaking the world food supply tree. Where a person is born should not dictate whether they live or die. Working together, we can all ensure that there is enough food for everyone.

As a developed country, we are the strong father or mother lifting up developing nations to reach the apples of their full potential. Foreign aid is a power-packed solution aimed at building self-sufficiency for developing nations. Use your voice. Support Foreign Aid.