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 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 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

31 Days in May – Sarah’s challenge – Day 1

Sarah’s blog

Let’s build a desperately needed school so all children can have the gift of education. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

I am trying to raise awareness of how little the hundreds of children in Ibuluma, northern Malawi have to eat. All children supported by the Foundation are malnourished. They are fed a nutritious, substantial meal once a week at the Feeding Programme. This is their biggest meal of the week. Some days some of the children might not eat at all. I am eating rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables each day in May to represent what the children eat. I’m very aware that I am privileged to have this every day instead of just once a week and, of course, this is my choice. The hundreds of children we are helping to support have no choice.

I am also cycling 10km a day on my exercise bike to represent how far the younger children walk each day to school and back (5km each way).

I need your help to keep encouraging me please. I also need you to help me raise enough money to build a school. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

This morning I woke up and the realisation hit me that today is the day I start this challenge. I know that a lot of it is about having the right mindset and I am looking at this as a challenge….not a diet or anything else weight loss related….just a challenge to raise awareness of how little the orphans and vulnerable children in Ibuluma have to eat.

I decided I would have a packet of microwave rice so that it was easy to know how much I was going to eat. I had about a third of it for breakfast with some cucumber, a tomato and 2 beetroot. That was ok, no problem. A couple of hours later I cycled 5km on my exercise bike but then started to feel quite light headed. I had a bowl of lettuce and a big glass of water which filled me up but it wasn’t long before I started feeling light headed again so I finished the rest of the packet of rice. At less than 400 calories per packet I think it was a bit silly thinking I could just have one packet per day. It’s strange how much I’m thinking about food….not food that I can’t have….but just thinking when I can have something else to eat.

I cannot imagine not having anything to eat all day until dinner time. Or even worse, going a whole day with nothing to eat at all. The children in Ibuluma look forward to The Feeding Programme each week, knowing they are going to get a substantial meal…..how must they feel when it’s really heavy rain and they can’t go? Huddled at home, under a leaking roof, with a sore tummy because it’s so empty. The disappointment of not getting to The Feeding Programme must be huge.

Another project we will eventually have to tackle is building bridges across the rivers. If it rains, it is too dangerous for children to cross the rivers as they are too deep and children might get swept away. So some children, if they live across the river, have to stay at home to be safe. We’ve so much to do to help this community back on their feet and to self-sufficiency….we can but do a bit at a time.

Thankfully, the teachers have noticed that children can concentrate better and their grades are improving just from one meal a week which supplements whatever small amounts they get at home. Things are better…but not ideal.

Another big glass of water and 5km on the exercise bike. That wasn’t too bad. Now how long until I can have some more food? For dinner I am going to have some rice (surprise, surprise) with onion, mushrooms and courgettes….and another big glass of water! If I get hungry later I will have a carrot and another big glass of water! I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s blog how this evening goes and if I am starting to get a bit grumpy…let’s hope not. I’m keeping focused on the children I want to help and the school I want to help build. I’d love it if you could support me please https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Chambo Primary where they sit on the ground. We need to build a secondary school for these children as there are currently not enough places so if children do not get picked then they don’t go to secondary school. Education should be available to all children.
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