Charlie 5 – Charlie Challenge

9th December 2013


Charlie 5 is now well into the second phase and we only have around two weeks left in Magukula. The workload is therefore getting even bigger, with awareness raising sessions to run, youth group, women’s group and men’s group sessions to organise and our murals on the school buildings to complete.  However, the group have been eager to stand up to all these challenges and complete them to a high standard. This has got us thinking about the challenges we have faced and overcome while we have been on project site.

From the very beginning of our time here in Magukula the group have faced challenges on a daily basis.  On top of this Charlie 5 set a personal challenge that lasted throughout the entirety of phase one.  This was to collect enough water for the whole group each day to meet our daily needs. Collecting water was definitely a physical challenge for every member of the group with the pump being positioned 5 km away.  It took over 60mins round trip to collect the water in two wheel barrows.  This was most challenging during the first few weeks of phase one when we only had one wheel barrow and three leaking jerry cans so the trip had to be done twice a day. Charlie 5 learnt a lot from this experience, mainly how precious water is and how lucky we are to have clean water closely available to us.


Living life like the locals is a far stretch from the way we live our lives at home. Having to fight the elements with basic necessities has definitely been challenging - especially now we have reached rainy season and things are starting to get a little wet!  ‘Back to basics’ accurately sums up life in the Magukula community.  To get water we walk with a cow/ donkey drawn cart, cook over open fires and have no major source of light at night making it difficult to spot the vast amount of bugs creeping up to you. So we ask everyone at home to walk in our shoes for just one hour every day for one week and go back to basics. This means no light, no electricity, and no luxuries; you will begin to appreciate things more when they are no longer accessible. It has proven to us that having fun isn’t about commodities but about the company you keep - which we believe is the key to Charlie 5’s success.


Being 1 ½ hours’ drive from the nearest town, Charlie 5 have had to turn to the local community for food supplies. Even though we welcome the idea of supporting the local economy there has been limited food on offer as farming practises are unpredictable due to the climate. We have had to pay a community member to go and collect food from town for us in order to get a more varied food selection. Thankfully our budgeting allows us to do this but it is not the case for most of the local community, meaning they have restricted diets and many people in the community are malnourished.


This week in our blog we are asking you at home reading this to take action and challenge yourself. The ICS slogan is ‘Challenge yourself to change your world’ and this is a motto we have found inspiring during our time here.  Living below the line for one week or even a few days will allow you to experience the struggle people face.  By just living on one pound a day for a week will illustrate how difficult and limiting a pound a week will be.  Some of Charlie 5 lived below the line as a way of fundraising for ICS and found it challenging but rewarding.  Living below the poverty line is an eye opening task which challenges the way you choose your produce, your leisure and prioritise certain aspects of your lives.  Therefore, if you are reading the blogs and have been inspired by what Charlie 5 is achieving why don’t you join us in our mission to raise awareness about global issues and the millennium development goals. While we spend what little time we have left in Magukula raising awareness in the community, you could be raising awareness about issues in your own community – creating ripples in communities throughout the world.  

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