Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Identifying with people in poverty

By Deborah Hancox

Day one of two days we are spending as a church identifying with those living in poverty by living on R10 per person per day in our household. It strikes me that on the one had this is rather a lot of money because if there is a household of 4 people, that would mean a monthly food budget of approximately R1200 and we know households in extreme poverty live on less than R800 per month FOR EVERYTHING.

The second thing that struck me was how little it is. Like at lunch time today, as I rushed between meetings and had forgotten to pack a peanut butter sandwich, if I popped into the ENGEN and bought a pie and a coke, it would be about R20, two days of my food budget. Hmmm…. So tonight the family is getting samp and beans, made with onion, garlic, chilli, beef stock and a little pork shank, fat on.

As I write this, it is nearly cooked and tastes rather good, if I say so myself. Sides will be cabbage and butternut. Tomorrow night will be soya mince with rice. Funny thing though is how I felt when I went shopping for the food for these two days. I have to admit that I felt a bit ashamed… how do I explain it? I could see people looking into my basket at Checkers and there it was, R11 pork shank, pilchards in tomato, small (non basmati) rice etc. I thought status didn’t matter to me. I thought I was a tough NGO type! But boy, this was an eye opener. At least I could pay with my debit card and choose between cheque – savings – credit card so I that boosted my ego a bit.

Anyway, off to feed the family.

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