Monday, 17 October 2011

R12 a day: Day 1

I'm doing the R12 a day challenge. If you'd like to know more about how you can do the challenge or if you want to donate money towards food for those in my church living below the bread line, please mail me at doodlesofajourno at gmail dot com.

Here's the menu for the next few days:

Today:
Breakfast: mealie meal porridge
Snack: banana
Lunch: 2min noodles
Supper: spaghetti with soya mince and veg (specifically, I found a special at Fruit & Veg City for 3 punnets of yellow patty pans for R10)

Tuesday:
Breakfast: mealie meal porridge
Snack: orange
Lunch: leftover spaghetti with soya mince
Supper: homemade potato gnocchi with tomato and onion sauce

Wednesday:
Breakfast: mealie meal porridge
Snack: orange
Lunch: leftover homemade potato gnocchi with tomato and onion sauce
Supper: vegetable soup (using the other two punnets of patty pans) with bread with our small group (we are asking each member to bring R4 - a third of their daily allowance)
Dessert: Jelly. (No custard, I'm afraid)

Thursday:
Breakfast: mealie meal porridge
Snack: banana
Lunch: leftover veggie soup and bread
Supper: spinach omelettes

One of the biggest eye-openers for me is how hard it is not to be able to buy something I crave. Often, I'll say to TSC, "What do you want for supper tonight?" or "I feel like roast chicken". Having to stick to a set menu is hard, and I can't imagine how tough it must be for those who really live under the bread line - they don't have the luxury of planning ahead what they'll eat. R12 a day is an average - not something you can bet on. So someone living in poverty might be able to earn R30 doing an odd job on one day, but then earn nothing for the next three.

Also, living on R12 of food a day is tough, but for people living in abject poverty, their meagre income, whatever it might be, has to cover ALL their expenses - transport, medicine, education... everything.

The biggest challenges for me so far:
  • Trying to plan a menu that isn't just starch-based; one that includes fruit, veg, fats and protein too.
  • Only drinking water. No coffee, no cold drinks, no tea, no alcohol. This is much tougher on TSC than on me (my terrible gastro meant I have only had two cups of coffee in the last two weeks. He, on the other hand, is used to five cups a day).
  • Trying to think about how to turn this challenge into something helpful in the long run. Yes, it will help me to build empathy with the poor, but how can that change my behaviour for the good of those in need? And no, I'm not talking about regular hand-outs - that's not how I think we can help. 
(PS: We leave on Thursday night for CT and will be staying with friends, so won't be able to do the final day of the challenge).

6 comments:

Shayne said...

Wow Tam, I'm impressed.

I'm not sure how I would cope with all that starch tho.

I see what my nanny eats:

Breakfast - homebaked bread
Snack - tea and more bread
lunch - either more bread (baked whilst she is working), rice with 2 diced potatoes, an onion and a tomato OR mealie meal cooked with onion and spinach OR straight mealie meal OR rice with soya mince.
Snack - tea with more bread.
Supper - no idea but am sure it's more of the same.

They also buy those bit economy packs of chicken and boil it! YUCK.

Am so impressed with what you are doing.

Hayley said...

Oh wow...what an awesome challenge!

Angel said...

Wow. That is some challenge. I would battle with the water only thing...

Damaria Senne said...

Good luck with the challenge. Sounds rough. I've eaten like that often when I was growing up and when I first got started in my career and after a while, you just don't even think about it. For me when I was living under the breadline, the one thing I couldn't do without was eggs. They're cheap in the longrun, and I ate them with everything - bread, rice, pap, whatever starchy food I could conceivably pair them with.

Tamara said...

Shayne: I had some practice living in CT when we first got married. We lived on soya mince and potatoes :-) Makes me remember how blessed we are to be able to afford meat and eating out though!

Hayley: I think it's really helpful in gaining a tiny bit of insight into the lives of the poor in SA.

Angel: Hehehe... today I am desperate for a Coke. And I don't usually drink the stuff at all!

Damaria: Thanks :-) Eggs are brilliant. Protein, yes please!

Louisa said...

It's a real eye opener living on so little a day. I think even when I had the littlest money available I didn't manage groceries for under R200 a week. But then it was just me so if I didn't have any I could just go without for a day or so...I would definitely not be able to do that now.