Yesterday was day four, which means I’m writing on the last day of the challenge – yippee! When we started I thought five days would be pretty manageable, but it feels like it’s gone on forever. I guess that’s what happens when you’re watching the clock for every meal.
Today I found out what happens when you run out of something and you have no money to buy more. We’ve been using butter for our toast in the mornings and for cooking, and now that it’s the end of the week supplies are getting seriously low. In order to be able to cook dinner later, we both had to eat dry toast for breakfast, something I’ve never done before and hope never to do again. It was really hard to get it down, and tasted of nothing. It felt purely like a refuelling exercise, but there was nothing we could do about it.
Talking of refuelling, I’m finding it much harder to enjoy my meals. Although I thought I’d done a fairly good job of planning a varied menu, it was pretty tough to avoid repeating certain ingredients like rice and tinned tomatoes. Just thinking about those two things makes me feel a bit ill – if I never eat them again it’ll be too soon. And yet, if this was our life, I’d have no choice. I’ve always believed that, as something we all have to do every single day, eating should be one of life’s great pleasures, but when you’re living on this kind of budget, it’s just something you do to survive.
Of course, knowing that tomorrow we can have a proper meal again is really helping us get through this last day. But for most people who live this way, there’s almost no prospect of such a thing. I think that’s what would be truly disheartening – the knowledge that this struggle will just go on and on, not getting any better. When I started this challenge, I thought it would be all about the hunger, but actually that’s been one of the easier parts. The tough bit has been a glimpse into how my life could have been, and I think that will stay with me forever.
If you possibly can, please, please visit our sponsorship page and donate to Action Against Hunger. No one should have to live like this.