31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 15 and 16

Sarah’s blog 16/5/22

Yesterday, I still had a headache, although not as bad as on Saturday night. I decided not to do 10km on my bike yesterday and, although I feel a bit guilty about that, it was the right thing to do. I slept much better last night and am ready to carry on with this challenge until the end of May. I didn’t expect my body to struggle as much with just rice and vegetables…I thought the toughest bit would be being bored with what I was eating! If it wasn’t hard then it wouldn’t be a challenge! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

This is an honest blog of my journey for the 31 Days in May to raise money to build a desperately needed school for the children in Ibuluma, northern Malawi. Cycling on my exercise bike for 10km represents how far the younger children are walking to school and back each day. Some days, I have been challenging myself further to cycle 15km.

Eating just rice and vegetables for the month of May represents what the children have at The Feeding Programme. I have swapped maize flour for rice. I am very aware that The Feeding Programme only runs once a week and that is the children’s biggest meal of the week. I am grateful to eat every day. I am grateful I have choices of what to eat every day. I am grateful to have food in my cupboards and fridge/freezer. I am very aware of how little the hundreds of malnourished children have. We are working hard to improve their lives through various projects all with the end goal being self-sufficiency.

I need your help and your support to keep me going with this challenge. The children need your support. Please donate to give the gift of education as this is the way out of poverty. Education should be available for everyone https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

15km done today! Rice and vegetables to eat mid morning and then I made another pot of soup for lunch and dinner! I can do this!! Thanks for reading, Sarah x

rice and vegetables mid morning and then soup for lunch and dinner

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 14

Sarah’s blog 15/5/22

Good morning! Things went a bit downhill yesterday. I’ve been so tired and had a headache all day. I still went on my exercise bike yesterday but only managed 10km. I’d stuck to rice and vegetables but by dinner time Stuart and I both decided I needed something else to eat, so he made me an omelette. It was lovely to have something different to eat but I didn’t really enjoy it as I should have as I was feeling so guilty that I’d had to supplement the rice and vegetables. Despite having an early night too, it took me ages to get to sleep because of a headache.

That isn’t really what I wanted to report at day 14, two weeks into my challenge, but it’s about honesty and just eating rice and vegetables for a month is obviously harder than it sounds because of lack of nutrients in my diet. So although I am determined to stick to completing this challenge, I will be making sure I have more beans and I’m also going to add a multivitamin each day. There is no point in making myself really poorly through this challenge, I need to be sensible as lots of people are depending on me. Yesterday was a warning that my body is needing more than I’m giving it through rice and vegetables. I’ve still got a headache today but hopefully it will go once I’ve eaten and had some vitamins.

How do the malnourished children in Ibuluma cope? No wonder they can’t concentrate as well at school if their basic needs aren’t being met like they should be. Thankfully, the Feeding Programme is making a difference to them although it’s only once a week. By planting fruit tree saplings we are investing in their future food and a source of income. We need to keep investing in this community to help them to future self-sufficiency. Planting even more fruit tree saplings is a great, and relatively cheap way to achieve this. At £10 for 4 saplings it’s an ongoing project that you can donate to at any time.

I’m needing your support please as I continue with my challenge to raise funds for building a school. There are not enough school places. Education is the way out of poverty for the orphans and other vulnerable children. All children deserve the gift of education. Please donate https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 thanks for reading, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 13

Sarah’s blog 13/5/22

12.15pm Pot of soup made! 15km on exercise bike done! I’m doing ok but finding it quite hard to concentrate on other things apart from this challenge today. I’ve almost completed two weeks and I’m really pleased that I’ve had the willpower to do this challenge….I just need to keep going and need your help. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The thought that the hundreds of malnourished children supported by The Foundation don’t have the choices I have is keeping me going and focused on my challenge. They don’t have the luxury of choosing which vegetables they will be eating and how they will be cooking them. They might go a whole day without eating at all. Things are improving for them but there is still a long way to go.

Having a school in their village will make a huge difference. It will bring employment as well as education for all. It will mean that young people don’t need to board at school and can stay at home and help their families with chores. All children deserve an education. All children deserve enough to eat. All children deserve to have the opportunities to be the best they can be. Please support my challenge to build a school for them.

I thought I’d also show you a photo of some beautiful knitting for babies that we received recently. These little jackets will be so appreciated by new mothers for their babies. We are very grateful for all the donations and support we receive to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

beautiful knitting for babies in Malawi that we received recently

two lots of tasty soup I made this week – glad of a different way to eat vegetables

15km done today

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 11 and 12

Sarah’s blog 12/5/22

11.30am There wasn’t much to report yesterday. I did 10km on the exercise bike and ate rice and veg. I have been finding the last few days harder, I think because it’s a bit colder and I’m wanting something a bit different from salad and rice. Last night I did open a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce and had half of that tin with rice which was a nice change. I am currently making some soup which I am looking forward to.

6pm My soup was delicious….even if I say so myself lol. Sweet potato, broccoli and stilton. I only used a little bit of stilton to give it some flavour…it’s been nice to have vegetables in a different form today! I’ve just cycled 15km so if you think I’m doing ok then please donate and share my posts. I’m almost two weeks into my challenge and have cycled further than I first thought so I’d love your help to build a school for the children so everyone can go to school. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 9

Sarah’s blog 9/5/22

Day 9 already! It’s been a busy one as I’ve completed a grant application and an article for a magazine. I enjoyed my lunch today as it had some herb butter on it (just a little bit) but just that made it taste wonderfully different to what I have been eating. I’m grateful for little choices that I can make….the malnourished children in Malawi that we are supporting don’t have that choice…their choice is trying to find enough food and to survive. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Thankfully, we support the Feeding Programme to feed 500 children a substantial, nutritious meal once a week as there are no big charities feeding children in schools that far north. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to feed them more than once a week. We would love to be able to set up a Porridge Programme so that each child has some food in their tummy each day before lessons. However, that would cost a great deal of money. Eventually, once the situation improves for the villagers, they will be more self-sufficient and there will be more employment, more food and they will be able to feed themselves.

I went on my exercise bike…with my tablet next to me on top of the drawers next to my bike. I must have been so into the story I was reading that I looked up and I’d already gone past 10km….so I thought I’d keep going….guess what? I cycled 15km today. My legs are a bit like jelly but I did it!! If you’d like to support my efforts and my fundraising to build a much needed school then please donate at https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 8

Sarah’s blog 08/05/22

Its been a busy old day today. I’m really happy that I have completed my first week of the challenge. However, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been wanting to snack on food today. I’ve opened the fridge a few times and closed it again. However, at least I usually have a choice about what I can eat. I’ve not cheated so I’m pleased I haven’t given into temptation as we still have some Easter eggs here and ice cream in the freezer.

I was at a friend’s house this afternoon. She brought me a present while she had been out shopping. Rice cakes have never tasted so good lol. Not a great photo of me but hey ho….I enjoyed a few of my rice cakes! Thanks Alison. I’ve still got my cycle to do soon and then some vegetables to look forward to. If you would like to donate to my fundraiser to help build a much needed school then please click on the link https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 7

Sarah’s blog 7/5/22

5.30pm I’ve been a bit hungry today and bored by what I’m eating. I must admit I’ve opened the fridge a few times to look at what’s there, sighed, and closed the door again. But do you know what? The kids in Malawi don’t have a choice. They would be delighted to be eating what I’m eating. Even more so, they would be delighted that they were eating every single day.

So I can do this. I have done this! I’ve completed one whole week! 7 days of eating rice and veg to represent what the children have at the feeding programme (although I’m having rice not maize flour and I’m lucky enough to be eating every day). I’m cycling 10km every day on my exercise bike to represent the distance the younger children are walking to school and back each day. I’ve cycled 70km this week!! I’ve also lost 8lb in weight! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Do you know what? I’m pleased with myself. Pleased with my determination. Yes, I am doing this challenge for myself but I am doing it for the children. They desperately need a new school as there aren’t enough school places. If you don’t get picked for a place in secondary school then you don’t go. Life is very, very unfair. I need your help.

Today, I have been applying for a grant for school text books as there are nowhere near enough to go round. A full set of text books for secondary school year 1-4 costs £325. This set can obviously be used by 4 students at one time if they are in different year groups. £325 is a huge amount of money and I am asking for 10 sets. I do hope that I am successful with getting this grant. There is so much to do and so much more we want to do to help this community to self-sufficiency. The fact that things had got so dire and that there are hundreds needing help makes it more challenging. That is why we need you to help us. We can’t do this alone. It’s always about teamwork and we need to grow our team of supporters as then we can do more to help.

I need your support to raise funds to build a school. I have £840 in my fundraiser after the first week of my challenge. Can we get it to £1,000 by tonight? Please? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have enough for a classroom by the end of my challenge? https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 6

Sarah’s blog 6/5/22

3pm Tired today as I had very restless legs last night. Also it’s been a tricky day (food wise) as we’ve been with family and there has been bacon frying and a buffet lunch…..with salad for me! That was hard as there were olives, cold meats and cheeses that I would have loved. But I didn’t give in and had my salad and carrot sticks!! I’ll post a couple of pictures of lunch so you can see how good I was avoiding the temptations!

6pm Just done my 10km cycle and it’s getting slightly easier….that’s 60km this week!! I need your encouragement please. Help me to keep going by sharing my posts and making a donation towards the new school building. Almost a week done but still a long way to go….please help? https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks so much for reading and supporting. I received a cash donation too today. Many thanks, Sarah x

If you think I did well sticking to salad for lunch, please donate https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 5

Sarah’s blog 5/5/22

8.30am Good morning! I was wide awake at bedtime and struggled to get to sleep but once I was asleep I slept well. So that’s a positive to start off with! I’m feeling hungry this morning but I’ve got a zoom meeting at 9.30am so will wait until after that before having anything to eat.

I can’t believe I’m at day 5 already. Hopefully, this will become more like a habit as time goes on and I won’t be having to think about what to eat and when or having to remember when to go on the exercise bike. I am so grateful for the generous donations towards building the school so far. The fundraiser is sitting at £750 already! I really hope that we can raise a much bigger amount as I’d love to be able to say that we’ve raised enough money for a classroom block or at least one classroom. We will need to get proper quotes from the builders but we estimate that a classroom will cost £4,000 to build. Once we have raised enough money to make it possible, plans will be drawn up, with the builders, to see what the possibilities are and how much it will cost. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

It would be wonderful to be able to start off with a block of 3 classrooms for next years S1 pupils, accommodation for their teachers if needed, 2 dormitories, a kitchen and a toilet block. Thankfully, clean water and a shower block and a library are already there. It’s certainly a challenge but we can do this! The children need us to help them.

Once the school was built for the S1 pupils, we would continue raising funds and applying for grants if possible, so that each year the school would be added to until all four years were completed. It’s a huge project but one that is key to the successful education of hundreds of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Building a school will provide jobs whilst the school is being built, employment for teachers and other staff and most of all, the gift of a good education for all. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

We will need people to fundraise for us, to take on challenges, to raise awareness, to pay for some bricks or a roof panel or your company could sponsor a classroom. I always say it’s teamwork because we are a team. Each of us has an important part to play in helping to make lives better for the children we support. We can’t change their lives without you.

20.30pm Wow, my day suddenly got really busy so I only managed to get round to my 10km an hour ago….but I did it! I had a bowl of rice and a few mixed beans at lunchtime, some celery mid afternoon and I’ve just finished a salad. It will be a bit harder tomorrow when there is takeaway pizza about. However, I couldn’t have any because I’m gluten intolerant so at least I won’t be tempted.

Please, please, please help me help the children have a good education and the chance of a better future. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

That’s 50km completed so far!!

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 4

Sarah’s blog 4/5/22

For all the Star Wars fans…..May the 4th be with you!! It’s been a busy day today but I have completed my challenge again and feeling pleased that I’m able to take one day at a time and that’s now 4 days ticked off my challenge.

I slept much better last night and I’ve not been too hungry today. I had a carrot this morning before going out and then a bowl of rice at lunchtime. I’ve just done 10km on my exercise bike which was made easier by having my tablet next to me and reading a few pages of my book. I’ve had two nosebleeds today which I don’t usually get so that’s a bit of a strange one…. exercise or diet related or neither? Who knows?

I’ve been thinking about all the children and what we are able to do to support them to have a better future. How they are able to survive on the minimal food they have, I have no idea. Some days some of the children don’t eat at all. No wonder they struggle to concentrate at school and how do they manage to walk the distances they do whilst tired and hungry?

Sorry I haven’t had photos from Malawi to post over the last couple of days. Levison has had Malaria again and needed to get an injection and some tablets. Thankfully, he’s on the mend now and I should have more pictures to bring you tomorrow. So if you would like to support me on my challenge to raise funds for a much needed school then please donate here https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and your support, Sarah x

This is me today lol

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 3

Sarah’s blog 3/5/22

12.30pm Who needs sleep anyway? Sore tummy and sore legs last night and, for some reason, wide awake! I’m not saying this to moan, I’m just writing down facts as a record of how this challenge is progressing. I haven’t been hungry at all this morning. I’ve just had a lovely salad for my lunch which is the first thing I’ve eaten today. I’m saving my rice for dinner! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The first day of the challenge was really hard as I was hungry all the time but yesterday and today have been ok as my body is obviously getting used to the change in what I’m eating and eating less than usual. Not having meat is a big change but I’ve not really missed it. I’m finding that I am thinking a lot more about the children in Malawi and trying to imagine the different difficult situations they find themselves in. Not enough to eat, nowhere near enough resources in the local schools, no medical care if they can’t afford it. Lots of chores to do to help their families. The heavy rains this year have affected the crops and maize will be more expensive to buy and not as readily available. Life is very hard for them but, bit by bit, we are changing their lives for the better. Always, the end goal is self-sufficiency.

8pm It’s been a busy day today so I didn’t get round to doing my 10km until 7pm. When I got to 6km I started to struggle so I made my lovely hubby come and talk to me until I’d finished…. so I made it over the finishing line! A bowl of rice and a few beans just now. I’m feeling a bit tired but hopefully that means I might sleep tonight. My challenge is to eat rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables as a representation of what the children eat and cycle 10km to represent the distance the little kids walk to school and back. If you’d like to support me raise funds to build a desperately needed school then please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 2

Sarah’s blog 2/5/22

10.30am – I am so glad that day 1 is over! I did it but it was harder than I thought! So I needed a bit more rice than I intended but I think that is a sensible decision so I have enough calories to function. I didn’t eat anything after my dinner of rice and vegetables last night at 5.30pm…just a big glass of water. Junior wanted to do some painting so we got my paints out – it’s over a year since I last used them – and we both enjoyed making a bit of a mess lol. That was a good distraction but I went to bed hungry and my knees were sore from cycling 10km on my exercise bike. Up three times for the loo didn’t help so I was rather tired getting up this morning! However, I actually feel a bit better about food today and a bit calmer and not worrying about when I can next eat. So far I’ve had two big cups of tea and some cherry tomatoes. I’m going to have a big glass of water and hope to have some rice and veg after 11am. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

1.30pm – I had 2/3 of my portion of rice an hour ago mixed with 1/3 tin of mixed bean salad and another large glass of water. Not feeling hungry at all which is amazing compared to how I felt yesterday. I am feeling a bit tired though because I didn’t get a great sleep last night. Planning to do my 10km cycle before dinner. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

6.30pm Sore knees and feet from cycling 10km. I did it all in one go. I got to 7.5km and started struggling but managed to keep going….and I did it. Can’t believe it’s 6.30pm and I’ve not had my dinner yet. Still got a little bit of rice left from lunchtime and I’m about to make a big salad. So I’ve only needed one bag of rice today….I’m quite pleased with that. Just had a nice chat on the phone with one of the trustees of our charity giving me support.

As I said yesterday, I’m very conscious that I have a choice about what I am eating and how much I’m eating. I can eat every day and I am grateful for that. The 500 orphans and other vulnerable children whom The Foundation supports don’t have a choice. They don’t eat much every day. Some might not eat every day. They get a substantial, nutritious meal once a week at The Feeding Programme. Children come from up to 20km away for some food. Imagine walking 20km to have a meal and 20km home again. But what choice do they have? None. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The younger children are walking 5km to school and 5km back again…which is why I’m cycling 10km a day…to represent their journey. They walk, tired and hungry and I am passionate about wanting to improve their lives. They deserve our help. Please help me? Please donate so we can build a school and give all children an education. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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