Report from Day 2: #Belowtheline

DSCN5276Second day of Living Below The Line and things start feeling monotone, so you add half of a 10 cent banana to your oatmeal hoping to add some flavor. It works, the oatmeal tastes much better so you eat it all up and drink a cup of water.

By 11 your stomach starts sending you messages that it is hungry…but what can you do? While walking through the city, running work errands you catch a smell of a nearby bakery. The warm breeze carries the delicious smell of bread to you, and you know it was recently taken out of the oven. It is probably still hot and soft, but you can’t stop…you must keep walking.

Then hunger takes over and you give in to the temptation. You go in the store and buy bread, the smallest one you can find with cheese, and there goes another 12 cents. And when you come home for lunch you are satisfied, but feel a little guilty about whether or not you’ll have enough money for dinner.

So instead you focus on what’s at hand – lunch. You cook the pasta, chop the tomatoes and onions and throw them in the pan. There is no more oil though, and all the empty bottles have already been placed upside down to take out the last drops still stuck in the bottle. The pasta is filling and tastes good. You eat, drink water and head back to work.

Then it’s dinnertime. You make it back to a bakery and amongst so many delicious options you must pick only 3 pieces of bread with cheese. But you don’t complain because for better or for worse, at least you’ve got something to eat. You buy the two pieces of bread for 36 cents and then go to a local market to buy some ingredients: cucumber, tomato and onion. At home you chop the ingredients and heat up the bread and sit down to eat. The sandwich is good, but missing important garnishes like olive oil, basil and other flavor adding ingredients.

Things are not so bad though, because you know that in Ecuador you are living for $1.50 a day, but it’s not bad, you are not starving and you know it’s all temporary. Three more days and you’re done. But for some, this is not a game it’s a daily reality. And some of these people live in rich and developed countries where $1.50 is sometimes not enough for one gourmet coffee. That’s when you realize that all these little things that you couldn’t live without, coffee, sushi, orange juice… they are the real luxuries of life and some can’t even afford them.

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