rice and beans

This week Tearfund is inviting you and me to live off rice and beans for five days, to help us understand poverty issues more deeply and personally.  And then to give the money we save to support their work.

I raised my eyebrows when I heard. How entirely unappealing.  A number of staff members signed up, and I mentioned it to Andy.

“Tearfund are doing this thing next week where you only eat rice and beans, and really small portions, for five days.

A pause.

“Okay, let’s do it,” he says.


“I wasn’t offering to do it!” I cry. “I was just keeping you informed.”

He clearly doesn’t understand what a week of rice and beans will do to me. I love food, I have a deep and emotional relationship with my food. I dream about good dinners and weekend brunches.

And it’s not like I’ve never had to eat rice and beans. You never know what you’ll be able to eat when you travel, and rice and beans has often been on the menu. But to eat them by choice in the midst of the abundance of London cuisine, without recourse to snacks I may have packed in my suitcase? That actually feels really hard.

At the same time, I love bold and radical decisions; I love that Tearfund is suggesting something so full-on, something that is such an affront to my lifestyle. I read a blog this morning by Mark Powley that made a powerful case for a wake-up call from the anaesthesia of our comfortable western lifestyle.  It’s going to be proper hard and I hate that.

But I’ve opted in.  And I can’t answer for my grumpiness later in the week.

I had a small portion of porridge (with water! and no syrup!) for breakfast and I’m really hungry. But here’s hoping it brings home something a bit more important.


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