The $1.50/day challenge ends tomorrow. For me, it ended sooner than I thought it would. Even though it did, I have to say that this challenge was very humbling.
On Day Two, I continued eating the pre-made meals I made for the week. Breakfast consisted of the congee soup, free coffee and soy milk, and water. For lunch, I had fried rice with a few carrot/celery sticks. For dinner, I tried to be a little more inventive with my food and attempted to create an Indian version of a burrito using the leftover lentil soup and some of the shredded chicken. I added Naan bread to the dollar count ($0.50).
Dinner was where the problems started to set in. I ate a few bites from dinner and then stopped. The cat ended up coming over and eating the rest of it for me. I just wasn’t interested in it. By breakfast on Day 3, I tried to eat some of the free cereal and free soy milk, only to find I had no interest in eating at all. This is where I could sense a problem is arising. To go two meals in a row and choose to not eat than to eat a poor man’s meal, that says something very strongly to me. There was a health problem arising.
As I contemplated ending the challenge to eat something healthier and more heartier (i.e. more than $1.50), I looked at my lunch of lentil soup and realized I was not hungry at all. I was about to go 3 meals straight without eating.
The last time I went through multiple meals of not eating, I was in a poor country…Morocco. I went 3 days without eating before my driver had to step in and arrange for me to eat something that met my palate (which ended up being Chicken Tagine Citron). That’s just the way that I am. I’d rather not eat than to eat something that was mediocre or boring.
This challenge humbled me in realizing just how fortunate I am. I’m thankful for the bounty that God has given to me over the years. Then I was humbled in realizing that even though I felt like I was starving by day three on only $1.50/day, there are people out there that don’t even have $1.50/day to eat the bounty I was able to create. Some may go days without eating, but that’s not by choice or stubbornness because the food doesn’t agree with their palate. They’d gladly eat a rotten banana peel from the dump if that’s all they could find.
I never really appreciated the life that I’ve been afforded until I took this challenge. It makes you thankful for the little things you take for granted. At the same time, it makes you feel compassion for those who only dream of being able to have access to such bounty. It also makes you wonder what is wrong with this world when there are so many countries that have way more than enough to feed their people that we find ourselves wasting so much food at every meal. Somehow we can’t find a way to share the wealth with those who have nothing.
Why can’t we help those find means to fight their hunger? I know in this day and age we are faced with countless issues on why we cannot end hunger, like war and politics. But when you look at hunger as a human rights issue, war and politics do not matter. Human beings matter more. They always will.
After I ended my challenge on Day Three, I noticed that I started getting very ill. I knew my health may become an issue by changing my diet and not having access to plenty of fruits and vegetables. That was the main reason I decided to end the challenge. At the beginning, I did have that ‘what if’ this lowered my immune system and I became ill, but I was willing to forego the scare just to challenge myself to understand what the majority of the world is struggling with. Well, the ‘what if’ went into a full blown fever, vomiting, inability to keep liquids or solids down, and later a horrible respiratory infection.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the medical services available to me. Yet, there are people out there that don’t have access to medicine or medicinal food (i.e. the good ole chicken noodle soup, broth, or orange juice). Some people don’t even have access to clean water. Some people have to walk miles just to fetch a jar of water. This is the world we live in. The difference between the haves and the have nots? Money and Where You Live on this planet.
I think many of us dream of One World someday where hunger and access to clean water is a thing of the past.
I donated $250 (my fundraising goal) to UNICEF through the Live Below the Line challenge. If you’d like to donate a few dollars to help children worldwide have access to food, water and medical supplies, please join me in donating.
If you can’t donate a few dollars, think of gathering a few non-perishable food items from your kitchen and dropping them off at a local food pantry or food kitchen. If you can’t afford to spare food or money, consider donating some of your time to help out at a food kitchen or pantry. They always need volunteers. Find ways you can help stamp out hunger in the world. Sometimes it starts in your very own neighborhood.