Vince, TIff, Justin, Rach, and Jo, sharing a can of soup, carrots, and bread for dinner in 2010

I lived below the line last year. It’s about trying to simulate (very poorly), living in abject poverty for a week, and raising funds for a good cause in the process.

It’s something worth doing if you want to experience how degrading poverty is: it can make us protect what we have in a selfish way, and it has the tendency to take away what is good and human in all of us. 😦

That week, I started to understand how shocking videos like Chicken A La Carte could actually be mundane real life happenings instead of dramatized tear jerkers. My bread-apple-bread-apple week made me happy to eat every single scrap of food that came my way by day 5 – tasty or tasteless – and I was also craving meat I’ve never really liked before. Bak Kua. Daily activities became a real challenge. It just wasn’t easy.

We ended the week last year with a huge chicken parmigiana feast in Jo’s house (she gulped down a carton of milk the moment the clock struck 8), but the poor don’t have this option at the end of every hard week.

It makes me so, so thankful that I’m rich enough not just to eat what I like, but to learn things, go for different classes, use resources to create, give and bless…things that don’t come by easy on $2 per day.

You should do the challenge this May – I saw the LBTL guys already hard at work promoting the event in Rundle with a mock feast setup as shown below.

09032011492You can also read Alicia Melville-Smith’s experience last year on our UniSA journalism website.

I guess I like them a lot because when I wrote a rushed piece on it for an assignment last year, I called up one of the movement’s founders Nick Allardice at 8.30am one morning. He picked up and just gave me such a good interview. Not many busy people do that for nobodies.

(The article I wrote received zero publicity then.)


I just sensed he was a genuine person really wanting to create positive impact in the world, so I felt compelled to donate $30 to his cause. And I continue backing it.