Living under the Line was a challenge put out to the community to try, for 3 full days, to spend no more than R10/person/day on food.
When someone first said to me "You must blog about it" my initial thoughts were, "Yes, it will be fun to record the meals and shopping experience".
But, that's not what I am going to blog about because it really wasn't about that for me in the end - so instead I am just going to jot down some thoughts I had during those 3 days.
It is easier to feed 2 or more people on R10/day than it is to feed 1 person.
You really can't get anything that classifies as a meal for R10. However, for R20 or R30 for 3, you can actually throw together something that is fairly nutritious, even if the portions are smaller. I wonder if that isn't just another reason why our African population (let's face it, they are the majority who struggle the most) have totally got the edge on us when it comes to living in community. We are, for the most part, so self-sufficient, often too proud to admit when we struggle and then try to 'go it alone', whereas when you are part of a real community you just take time to look after one another.
It is NOT easy living on R10/day on your own.
Bread is satisfying.
When I was young, if we finished a meal and said we were still hungry, my folks would say "Have some bread" it was annoying and yet it's one of those things that I carried into my parenting, so that if My Girl said she was hungry, I would say "have some bread". I may have said it all these years, but it's as though now I really know why - bread is satisfying. A little bit can really 'hold your heart' if you are hungry and fill you up.
It reminded me of the Israelites in the desert being fed manna to sustain them and Jesus years later telling them that he IS that bread, except he sustains permanently and not temporarily.
Sauce is expensive.
I never realised how heavily I leaned on 'ready made' sauces - especially for mince. For me, mince needs as much help as it can get...therefore I get it LOTS of help with lovely jars of basil and tomato sauces, or such like. One can make a meal for the price of one of those nice big jars of sauce. It's outrageous. I have learnt that a great deal of red wine can go a long way to saving mince! I should learn some good old-fashioned recipes on making my own sauce, however I know myself well enough that this will never happen... but it's a nice thought. I will probably always buy sauce!
I have to admit to loving fresh vegetables. They look so bright and colourful and I LOVE them, and though I am not the worlds most domestic goddess, I am a sucker for buying heaps of fresh veggies when I shop: and honestly, I am every single time without fail, convinced that we WILL eat them all.
Probably what nailed me most in this exercise is how wasteful I am with what I do have. I never seem to learn that if I buy that much fresh stuff - it inevitably goes off, and I end up growing my own veggies in the fridge (and I don't mean 'growing' in a good way - I mean, like, FUR!) I am not proud of this. It's not only a waste of money, but it's also a waste of food. I know myself well enough that thisis something that I can change, and that I want to change.
I don't feel guilty.
Often people feel guilty about what they have when there are so many who don't have. I don't feel guilty, I do feel grateful.
I am thankful for what I have and, I believe, that as long as my gratefulness overflows into generosity and does not become greed - I think, I hope, I will always have compassion and a desire to help those who have less.
It was a good exercise - but it ended up being more than that.