Learning to live on £1 a day for eight days turned a Rugby man into a savvy shopper with a sharp eye for the bargain.
But for Jonathan Fowle it wasn’t about saving cash - it was highlighting the plight of millions in the world forced to survive on £1 day, including some of the people he will be helping and living with in Ghana.
Next month the 27-year-old, of Hibbert Close, off the Dunchurch Road, is off to Africa for seven months as a team leader with International Citizens Service.
Jonathan will be working with a team of 10 based at a resource centre for the disabled.
He will also visit schools, helping to eradicate the stereotypes some societies have about disabled people – such as the belief that it’s their fault because of what they did in a previous life.
Jonathan lost 8lbs on his diet of mostly potatoes, pasta, bread and fruit and veg and for the first few days also had to contend with a limited diet while working at a summer school in Leamington.
He said: “The worst times were in the mid-afternoon when I would feel quite tired or in the later evening when all I could have was water and some left-over bread.”
Jonathan didn’t bulk buy with £8 – instead he stuck to the rule of shopping everyday and scoured the bargain counters. He said: “I would go about eight o’clock – it was all in the timing. Some days I would get a big bag of stir-fry veg for 5p. I particularly missed crisps, hummus and Marmite. You realise life can be quite dull when it’s just basic food – you get a lot of enjoyment from food.”
He had to raise £800 for the trip and when he went back to a normal diet of carbohydrates, protein and dairy he found his body complaining. He said: “If I ate too much in one day I would get stomach ache.”
The former mental health support work is a recently qualified teacher and his father Clive is minister at Rugby Methodist Church Centre in Russelsheim Way.
Last year, Jonathan spent three months in Burkina Faso, west Africa, working with disabled people and helping to set up a co-operative selling their craft work there and online. He added: “The long-term aim is to work in international development – to teach people to help themselves and make our projects sustainable. It would be great to get to the stage when our kind of work is not needed.”