The Uganda Challenge

Charlotte Looker
August 31, 2018

After brainstorming a few challenge ideas such as shaving my head or climbing the equivalent of Kilimanjaro on Snaefell, I finally settled on an idea that would be difficult but also relate to the country I’ll be volunteering in – Uganda. Each day for the last 5 days, I’ve consumed just £1 worth of food and walked 12 miles in an attempt to reflect the hardship some Ugandans face daily. With just 2 days left to go here’s how I’ve gotten on so far…


I’d spent some time today trying to put together a shopping list that would 1. Not bore me to death and 2. Provide me with enough calories to sustain 3-4 hours a day of walking (approx. 3000 kcal). Having read the blogs of others who had attempted the eating part of my challenge, it seemed that I would sadly be at a disadvantage with no access to the German budget giants Aldi or Lidl, where vital pennies could be saved on almost everything I planned to buy. After trawling through the virtual aisles of Tesco’s online store, I had compiled a good list and set off that evening to complete my shop. Unfortunately upon my arrival, I learned that Tesco closes early on a Sunday so I drove home, ate a huge pizza washed down with a substantial wedge of half-melted Vienneta, before heading to bed dreading the week to come.


At 8:01 am I was poised outside Tesco with a gang of trolley wielding keen beans all checking their watches at 20 second intervals wondering why the shutters hadn’t yet risen. It was as if we were at the start line of some kind of illegal motorbike race; there was a tense atmosphere and if I could have revved my trolley, I would have. As the shutters finally ascended at 8.02 I felt a rush of adrenaline, turned to the other shoppers and for some reason then uncontrollably sprinted into the store ahead of them.

The list I had made the day before reached a total of £6.98 based on the online prices, however as I went in search of the bargains I found online, disaster struck when I realised that the Manx prices were higher! After some reshuffling of my budget and the removal of a few onions and some gravy, I was able to afford the most important food items with 23p to spare. 23p doesn’t go far in Tesco but I decided to spend it on some bananas, one of the few vitamin rich foods I’d go on to consume. Following this decision, I then spent a good 5 minutes at the scales combining different pairs of individual bananas trying to find a combination that would amount to 23p. It’s safe to say there were some funny looks thrown my way.

Here’s what I managed to buy for the week:


Having completed a 12-mile walk around Castletown the day before, I was woken by my alarm at 5.20am with tired legs and an empty belly crying out for some sustenance. Within 10 minutes, I was out the door and munching on a digestive biscuit on my way down to the promenade where I completed a 4-mile walk. For breakfast, it was porridge and I managed to just about get through the morning without falling asleep at my desk. Lunch was spaghetti with curry sauce and sausages and was surprisingly pleasant despite the sausages only costing £1.35 for a bag of 20. After work, I took a convoluted 8-mile route home to make up the 12 miles. I arrived home to find my family gorging on the delectable combination of southern fried chicken, sweet potato fries and cauliflower cheese. As a huge fan of all things fromage, the smell of the cheese sauce made my mouth water but alas, I joined them at the table with my rice beans and carrot and happily went to sleep soon after with a full stomach.


This morning’s walk was another 4-miler around Douglas followed by porridge again; curry sauce and spaghetti again and for tea rice and beans again. The diet is boring but at least I have a few biscuits each day as a luxury to look forward to. Today I split my evening walks into two 4 -milers and started listening to podcasts to ease the boredom of plodding the pavement for 3 hours a day.



I intended, as I had done for the last few days, to get up at 5.20am again to complete part of my walking – it didn’t happen and I really savoured every extra second under my duvet. Not much differed today except for having an appointment scheduled after work for a Yellow Fever vaccination in preparation for my placement in Uganda. Clad in white, with rubber gloves and a chalky face that looked like it was covered in talcum powder, the pharmacist approached me with the needle and just as it was about to violently pierce my upper arm, I suddenly remembered that my last vaccination had left me feeling weak and achy for two days! “WAIT!” I screamed. “What’s wrong?” the pharmacist asked as the needle retreated. I explained the situation and she warned that with the side effects, I probably wouldn’t complete the 12 miles and so I decided to reschedule. Relieved, I embarked on my walk from Strand Street and completed the 12 miles with a friend.


My diet for today and the weekend will remain largely the same apart from the introduction of some 30p sweet and sour sauce! The walks over the weekend will hopefully be a bit more interesting and I’ll take my time to complete them with breaks to take in the scenery.

I never thought I’d say it but I really can’t wait for Monday!

Thanks for everyone’s support so far!

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