I have decided to take up a challenge for three weeks as part of my ICS journey before I leave for Ghana, the purpose of which is three-fold: fundraising, awareness, and empathy.
As an ICS volunteer I have a fundraising coordinator (a shout out to Peri for all her help so far) and one of her suggestions was to do some sort of challenge to raise money in order to hit my fundraising target of £1,500 and continue spreading the word of ICS. I’m not much of an athlete, so I ruled out something like a Bike ride or a marathon, and as much as I would quite literally LOVE to climb a mountain or something I sadly can’t get the time off work.
Instead I plan to take three weeks identifying myself with some of the struggles that people go through on a daily basis in developing countries. This is not an official challenge, but one I have made-up and resembles a combination of existing challenges like “Live Below the Line”, “Walk for Water” and “The Big Sleep Out”.
As I am working full time six days a week, I needed to be realistic in what I could achieve for this challenge within my time frame, whilst also making sure I am able to still function well enough to do my job properly. Having said that I believe this will still be quite a draining and difficult challenge, and will also begin to highlight to me some of the struggles of the communities I will encounter in Ghana.
If you feel like you’d like to sponsor me as I take on this challenge, I’d be so grateful! I have a Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RoseannaLeach
This post explains where the money I raise for ICS goes to.
So what will I be doing in these three weeks…?
Starting on October 16th, I will spend a week “sleeping rough”.
For five days, this will mean sleeping on my bedroom floor, rather than on my bed with cushions and blankets and duvets – a real luxury for many people around the world and yet something I rarely spend time actively being grateful for. Although not fully sleeping rough, it’s half-way there and should mean I get half a night’s sleep and am able to wake up for work in the morning.
For two of the days I will be sleeping outside in my garden, properly “roughing it”. I will be building a small “shack” out of cardboard (and perhaps tarpaulin if rain/frost is scheduled) and spending the night in there.
As well as sleeping rough, I will be having “bucket showers” as an acknowledgment of the fact that those living in slums and shanty towns often do not have access to running water. Don’t worry though, I promise to stay clean!
Sunday 23rd October will begin my week of eating on £1 a day and drinking only water. In Ghana many people live below the poverty line (the poverty line being a measure of what is deemed an adequate income in a country). The international poverty line was set to $1.90 a day by the World Bank in 2015, equating to roughly £1.50. Evidently, if I’m eating below the poverty line, this means my food will be inadequate in quantity and nutrients (probably consisting largely of rice and beans). I am grateful that this is only my challenge for a week, and not my everyday reality.
WALKING FOR WATER
Over the course of the week of 30th October, I will be walking 35 miles (aiming to average 5 miles a day) with 10kgs in my rucksack (not on my head, because my balance just ain’t that good).
I wanted to do something to represent the journey many have to make everyday to find (sometimes only dirty) water to drink. Most people know that water is essential to life and that for some in the developing world this means walking for hours a day to survive.
“More than three million people don’t have access to safe drinking water and over 85% of people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. The three northern regions are particularly deprived, with one in ten children dying before their fifth birthday” –Water Aid in Ghana.
I’m going to reflect on my experience and post about how I’m finding things every so often. I’m not too sure what will happen as a result of this challenge, but my hope is that I will learn a lot, (maybe) raise a lot, and that any one who reads this blog will understand more of what people in poverty go through as I try to empathise with and experience even a fraction of their struggle.