DAY 18 – Eat only one meal today (for extra challenge, go without meat).

When living on less than $2 a day, every choice you make is an important one. Will you pay your rent? Or school fees? What will you eat today? How much will it cost?  To save money, most Kiberans only eat one meal a day. And even those who can only afford one meal often share with others who have even less. To stretch the budget, many meals are inexpensive and filling – most common is ugali (maize meal), sukuma wiki (collard greens) and beans. Most meals are not nutritionally balanced, and often don’t include meat because of the cost. Imagine working as a manual laborer, trying to concentrate during school, or practicing with your soccer team without any food in your stomach. Try it for a day.


"I tried to stick to Ali’s diet. Eating the same meals gave me a better sense of life in Kibera. Plus, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could actually do it. I was self-conscious about having grown up comfortably and wanted to prove that I could defy the stereotype of the soft, pampered middle-class kid.

Ali drank a cup of strong tea in the morning and then went all day until his first and last meal, which generally consisted of sukuma wiki and ugali. It was as if Ali fasted all year. For the first time in my life, I experienced insatiable hunger. My stomach ached for food when I was with Ali. The hunger was all-consuming, and I ashamedly gave up on Ali’s diet after two days."

P.63 of It Happened on the Way to War

Challenge Reflection by Kyle Bullington

At home, when I wake up I absolutely have to eat something to be able to focus throughout my day.  Breakfast is not a luxury often seen in Kibera.  In fact, neither is lunch.  After a day of work the average Kibera household returns to their house for a big dinner.  Once I woke up I could feel the hunger crawling at my stomach all the way until dinner.  Hunger makes everything far harder and unsatisfying. Hungry is a terrible way to live.

Discussion - Day 18

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  1. Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    This challenge, hands down, has been the most difficult. The kids decided first thing in the morning that they wanted to eat. They said they could not imagine only having one meal. My husband and I decided that we would try having our one meal in the mid-late afternoon. We chose chicken, green beans, and brown rice hoping that would keep us full for the evening. Unfortunately by evening our hunger had returned with a vengence. For me I had to consciously distract my mind. By bedtime my husband had a snack. The frustration that going a day without food is so difficult swelled in us. Knowing that over 1 billion people around the world live on less than $1.25/day and are going hungry like we did for one day is not ok. Participating in these challenges only reinforces the importance of giving our voice and taking action to make poverty history!!

  2. Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Today 09/23/11 i took on the challenge to eat only one meal today. Currently, i am starving and i cant wait for breakfast. I used my one meal this afternoon on a slice of pizza and a piece of garlic bread. I defiantly would never ever want to have to experience this as often as some people in our world have no choice of doing. Being hungry is not only uncomfortable it brings you down. Your not motivated to do anything, and then the headache starts and all hell breaks loose.

  3. Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    All i had on 9/25/11 was noodles and butter for the whole day. it was not the best meal but it held me over most of the day. I can’t imagine have one meal a day i feel like i would end up getting diabetes if i didn’t eat more in my day. On the other hand, i feel sorry for those who have to do this everyday and can’t afford to eat good every day

  4. by PJoy
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    ($2.00 a day for food) Last Saturday, February 25th, I realized by the end of day that I had only eaten a turkey sandwich after my stomach growled. I haven’t heard my stomach growl for quite sometime. It felt energizing to not be weighed down with the typical American over consumption, but I’m sure if it were a daily allowance it would take it’s toll on you.