Friday, December 09, 2011

When Food Makes You Mad

Yesterday we took the 2 Dollar Day Challenge.  Our goal was to feed our family with just $2.00 for the whole day.  The purpose was to open our eyes and hearts to the plight of nearly half of the world's population.

J and I based our menu off of the food listed on the 2 Dollar Day site, what our friend's priced out from Aldi's and on what one of the organizers of the challenge bought that day in Ethiopia.  (Because J was at work, our total food cost was difficult to figure out, but we tried to eat as closely as possible to $2.00.)

Everyone except Beza played along.  (....she already lived that life.)

1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal lightly sweetened with brown sugar.  Divided in three. 
(J had his own before work.)  (M and T also had an apple with peanut butter--something they have every day--I didn't want them to be hungry at school.)

One Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich made with 1 TB of peanut butter and 2 tsp of jelly.  Divided in three.  
One banana--divided three ways.  
(We used homemade bread--I cut the slices extra thick--I didn't want them to be hungry--and quite frankly, neither did I...)

Afternoon Snack
One banana--divided in half (T didn't want any).
Two cups of  "black" tea.

Six scrambled eggs and 2 cups of rice.  Divided by four.  

Note: M and T had very close to their normal portions for all of their meals and even left food on their plates at dinner.  T had a morning snack at preschool.  They only complained about being hungry right before dinner.  Definitely the biggest change to their day was not having a substantial healthy afternoon snack.  They also struggled with the lack of choices.  T was really frustrated that he couldn't have a fruit bar...

What did we learn from the day?

None of us likes to feel hungry.  It makes us cranky and tired and it makes it hard to think about anything else.

During the day, both J and I took food from our plates to give to M and T.  Even though our stomachs were growling, we didn't want them to be hungry--even for one day.

We can not imagine living this day in and day out.  We woke up to a pantry full of food.

We also woke up to a warm house, closets full of clothes, a stable, well-paying job, a bank account, health care and nine faucets, just on the inside of our house, flowing with clean water.

I tried to think of what I would really do if I only had $2 a day to feed my family.  But the truth is that I honestly can't know what I would do.  I am a healthy, robust adult.  But what if I had started my life without enough to eat--without medicine or vaccines.  Even without dental care.  And probably with at most a very limited education.  Wouldn't I be a tired, hungry adult just trying to survive...? 

Not to mention that with that same $2 a day I would somehow need to fund some sort of shelter and clothing (forget about diapers).  And clean water.

What would I do if one of my children or husband got sick?  (Malaria and HIV/AIDS--just to name a few of the many insidious diseases--are rampant in countries where the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.) How is there any money for that? 

There isn't.

$2 a day is not enough.

So now what?

For sure I think that what we're left with is this--a much deeper compassion for those who walk this road.  A compassion that, God-willing, will help us to focus our priorities..and our hearts.  A compassion that will compel us to make a difference...because if I were living on $2 a day I would want someone to see me and to love me enough to help me change my future. 

For more information about living on just $2 a day check out these resources.

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