A Day in Someone Else’s Shoes

How would you like to spend a few days in someone else’s shoes?

Over the weekend I received two challenges to live on $1.50/day.  At first, I thought that was ridiculous.  There’s no way that I could.  But it stuck in my mind.

This morning, The Today Show spoke of how Gwyneth Paltrow accepted Mario Batali’s challenge and how she did it.  Her challenge though was $29/week.  A family on food stamps generally lives on $4/day.

$1.50/day for 5 days is $7.50.  That was the challenge presented to me.  That was the challenge that One.org is putting out there to the world.  Nearly 1.2 billion people in the world live on $1.50/day for food.

I’ve read a few articles from people that accepted the challenge [like this one who lives on a vegan diet].  The comments I’ve read on these articles are really first world problems.  There was a constant: you can’t eat healthy on that diet.  That was the point of the experiment.  It’s not a matter of ‘You can live on $1.50/day’ challenge.  It’s a challenge for us to understand what it means for 1.2 billion people in the world that live on $1.50/day.

1.2 billion people in the world don’t care about GMOs, pesticides on their food or whether the food they purchase was organic or not.  All they care about is that it’s food on the table.  I’ve watched documentaries on children going through the dump (completely barefoot) looking for anything edible to eat…like a rotten banana peel.  Sometimes all people can afford is the rotten food that’s being thrown out.

I’ve been in markets where all they’re selling is rotten meat, vegetables and fruits.  The smell is so atrocious, but that’s how they live.  Even the indoor supermarkets have flies swarming all over the food.  This is normal to them.

The humbling part of my journey was realizing that even though I was witnessing poverty, I was seeing them through Burberry sunglasses.  I had security with me.  I had my own driver.  Yet, I was witnessing hardships and the life of people in a third world country.  Even though many are starving and are destitute, they look at you with a smile in their soul.  Their kindness is genuine.  They do unto others as they hope God will do unto them.  They live with the philosophy that if they work hard and do things pleasing in God’s eyes today, then tomorrow God will shower kindness upon them.  If the next day they find that God did not find their works good enough to reward them, they work harder the next day.  They give to the widows and the elderly, even when they have very little.  They are always performing acts of charity.

To me, that is a life principle.  It also makes me thankful for each and every day I wake up to the life that I live.  There are times when I feel like I’m not doing enough for my works to be pleasing in God’s eyes.  But then I’m reminded of the people I’ve met in third world countries that live by this principle of doing things to be worthy of God’s favor.  All they want is food, a roof over their head…the basic necessities.  That’s the only favor they are asking from God.  It makes what I ask for completely selfish and foolish.  Just take a look at my purse wardrobe.  One bag could feed someone for 1,000 days…and yet, I think I’m not doing enough to be rewarded properly… (first world problems).

From April 28-May 2, One.org is challenging the first worlders out there to see what it is like to live on $1.50/day.  PerfectionistWannabe.com is accepting that challenge.

Considering that this site leans more towards the good eats, this will be somewhat of a challenge.  Luckily, these past few weeks, I’ve already been putting the challenge to work.

For those who have access to an Aldi, I highly recommend going in and buying your groceries from them.

Just recently, I picked up 4 chicken leg quarters (about 4 lbs worth of chicken) for $2.17.  Wow, right?  I just happened to walk in when they put the $2 off sticker on the packages.  Normally, they’re $4.19 for the 4+ lbs. of chicken.  It’s $0.95 per pound.

With that chicken, I can easily make chicken stock by boiling a couple of the chicken quarters.  I shred up the boiled chicken for other dishes.  That’s roughly $0.54 per chicken quarter.

For the chicken that has fallen off of the bone, I make chicken noodle soup with the leftover celery and carrots (celery and carrots vary in price, but are both under $1 per 1-2 lb. bags).

The chicken stock I reserve for other dishes (including soups).

I picked up a bag of dinner rolls that came out to $0.50.  There were 8 rolls in the bag.  You can generally get a loaf of bread for $0.85.

A can of tuna is $0.59.  A six pack of tomatoes is $1.29.

In other words, Aldi is a great place for the budget minded folks.  After discovering I could buy chicken for $0.95/lb. there, I have a difficult time wanting to spend 3-4 times that at the supermarket for the convenience just because I’m there buying other groceries.

There are a variety of dishes you can make with this sort of budget.  Believe it or not, there are also ways of getting free food on top of it all.  So during April 28-May 2, I’ll be sharing with you just how I was able to live for 5 days under this budget AND still be a foodie.  And yes, I will find ways to get free coffee and almond/soy milk.  There are ways.

Will you accept the $1.50 challenge?