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This week, some of us from the St Mark’s gang have been joining in with the Live Below the Line challenge. The aim is to live on a quid a day (or less). The reason is that this is what over a BILLION people around the world have to do. We wanted to stunt united with our neighbours, to get a tiny insight into their lives and to have our stomachs and spirits woken up to the injustice of it.

I didn’t make the whole week through for fear of scuppering my marathon running on monday but here are a few reflections.

You can get a couple of good mugs out of a single tea-bag! I just used one each day, and it was not till the 4th and 5th cups that the bag really needed a lot of encouragement to squeeze out a bit of flavour!

Worrying about food, means thinking about food. Thinking about food means always being aware of the hunger.

The challenge was surprisingly difficult, and even harder to try and get in the recommended daily 5 or 7 of fruit and veg! This is even more true when comparing the way I did the challenge compared to how the worlds poorest have to do it. I, for instance, was able to blow 3 quid on a multi-buy family size bag of pasta and then do a little bit of maths to work out how much each portion cost me. I had the money up front and was working backwards. If I was waiting till the end of days back-breaking work in the fields to be given my meagre £1 wage as the sun went down, I would not get to buy food like this. I would just have a pound. Bulk-buying, the economy of mass purchasing, the ability to buy some now and freeze it till later…would not exist if I was being forced to live this life every single day.

If I was one of the worlds poorest 1 billion, neither would I have a fridge to keep the left-overs in so that I could re-use them tomorrow. I did this with my bean casserole. Another luxury afforded only to us rich folk.

I was hungry (cos I was thinking about food)

I only had to do it four a few days.

I did not make my two girls do the challenge. I cant imagine the suffering of a mother who has no option but to feed her babies dirty water and listen to them scream in agony from their starving stomachs but who has no ability to change their situation.

Of course, when we had a baby, the state started to give us a couple of tax credits and some child benefit. If I was one of the worlds poorest families, and we had another baby, I would not get a pay-raise, and the government would not suddenly give me some cash. My pound that I earn each day just has to stretch a whole lot further.

There is no good reason that I should have so much and others have so little. We have figured out how to put a man on the moon, map the DNA make-up of a human, clone a sheep and get super fast internet to Cornwall, and yet we cant seem to share our resources fairly. One of the biggest health problems in the west is having too much to eat, while one of the biggest problems for millions of other families is not having anywhere near enough.

I guess the over-riding feeling I am left with is thankfulness that I am so rich and have so much coupled with an anger that fairness and justice are not experienced by my neighbours. To let go of either one of these two feelings would be a failure. To act on the both from this day forward just might make a little difference.