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.