Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Part 3 – Living Under the Line

Nathalie Koenig weighs up the real implications of living under the breadline.

Shopping with only R10 per day to spend turns an otherwise average grocery run into a feat that requires a whole new level of planning, budgeting and thought. What goes into the trolley, no – basket? How much do we compromise taste and variety for tummy-filler capacity? Do we still buy coffee, and downgrade to no-name brand chicory (and share that with five others), or do we just go without for three days, and save the extra cash for some more tomato relish?

This attempt to identify with those living under the line really highlights that it’s no mean feat surviving with this budget. We can pull a few tricks, like stocking up on extra Wimpy sugar sachets, or heading for the buy-one-get-one-free specials – but imagine living like this fulltime? And with R10 for EVERYTHING? Does food trump education? Is the fight for basic survival barring you from working towards escaping a vicious cycle? And how do you find employment if the transport cost for an interview costs your entire daily budget – and some of tomorrows too?

Living under the line doesn’t only limit what you can have for yourself, but also what you can offer others. With so little for your own survival – can you really even consider sharing? What a privilege it is to GIVE! Most Common Grounders can afford to give but why should we? It’s simple. We give because we care – and we give because we can. That’s why the second part of the challenge – to donate what you would’ve spent to Common Good – is so key.

So ‘living under the line’ – a phrase that puts the means with which people survive into words we can understand. But as Christ-followers, we all live under the line of two arms stretched across a cross. We all live under the authority of a King who fully identified with people by becoming one of us, living outside of His power – and dying for us.

This is full identification with the vulnerable.

So let’s bear in mind the example Christ set as we consider the implications of this challenge.

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Part 2 – Living Under the Line

Anneke Jagau contemplates whether to cheat, or not to cheat…

I don’t think that these three days will make me desperate enough to go dumpster diving but I have to repent, I am already thinking about ways that I can ‘cheat’. I can sneak past a coffee shop and take some free sugar sticks so that I can pimp by bowl of porridge in the morning. Technically, I don’t pay for it so don’t need to count that cost. Or what about the offers Pick ‘n Pay has sometimes: buy one get one free? During the challenge I can just eat the ‘get one free’ item – surely it’s within the rules as I didn’t pay for it!

And what about someone offering me something to eat?

Does that count? Or if someone offers me a taster in the supermarket… Everyone can walk into a supermarket and get a free taster! And that business meeting that I have, I am sure there will be food which I don’t have to pay for. Can I eat that?

I decided that for my challenge I can eat anything that is available to anyone. Not everyone has a job that comes with business meetings. Or flights with amazing plane food. I hate to admit that I like plane food, but during the Live Under the Line Challenge plane food suddenly seems like the ultimate gourmet experience. But if it’s not available for everyone, it’s not available for me during the challenge.

Anyone can sneak past a coffee shop and snatch some sugars, but first of all, I lack the guts to do it, and secondly, something tells me that it’s not entirely honest, so not the best idea during the challenge.  The ‘pay one get one free’ idea is also not entirely fair, since people that live on R10 a day usually don’t do that for three days but for their entire lives. The only ‘cheat opportunity’ that is left on the shelf is the one where I get to eat free tasters. Hmm…. Maybe I should move my challenge to the weekend. On Friday I could go to the market in Hout Bay, on Saturday I could enjoy the tasters of the Tokai market for breakfast, and the goodness of the Neighbourgoods Market for lunch… Yum!

I guess brushing my teeth with toothpaste is an amazing replacement for sweets. I may just take my toothbrush everywhere I go and have an instant healthy candy-substitute…. 😉

Happy challenge!

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