Lentils & Rice
Live below the line

Tomorrow I start live below the line.

NZ$2.25 per day to spend on food. That’s all. no more.

NZ$2.25 is vaguely the global extreme poverty line. By attempting to do this for one week I can get a sense of what it must be like to experience the hunger of having so little. Except not - because I have access to free clean drinking water, accommodation, warmth, low corruption, hot showers… Except not - because I only do this for 5 days then I go back to spending my 5-days-food-budget on a single meal. Except not - because I don’t have a threat of starvation hanging over me.

I found when I did this last year, that when I was (not) eating with people - almost without fail - they would try to give me some of their food, or offer to buy me some, or try to pay me in food for doing dishes or something. This is an appropriate response of wealth to poverty. I’m just not the impoverished one.

I challenge you - if you’re feeling the littlest bit uncomfortable watching me eat lentils and rice while you eat your excellent food, and you feel compelled to share. Donate instead.

Live below the line is about bringing extreme poverty out of the shadows. For me and for you too. I get to feel more hungry than usual, and you get confronted with a stand-in for poverty. People are starving without, yet if I choose to eat lentils and rice for a week people want to buy me a cheeseburger. I don’t deserve your generosity any more than some stranger who has no resources. I certainly don’t need it more.

While I and others are choosing to go without a bunch next week, realise there are many who don’t get to choose.
Please give to whichever organisation you like - even something not associated with my fundraising - extreme poverty is fixable and we are the wealthy ones.

P.S. I’m sorry that the tone of this post is so very arrogant. I know very little about world economics, and that it’s more complex than just throwing money around. I also know that I am ridiculously better off than a disturbing swathe of the planet - not through my own merit, just through sheer unfairness. That sucks.