Day 1: Confession

April 13, 2010

dinner

I’m a wimp when it comes to hunger.  Seriously.

Cause really, I’m eating like a queen — this week included.  That’s the crazy thing.

I’m healthy, I can drink clean water, and this time around, the food even tastes good (thanks to green onions, tomato sauce, and chicken soup base!).  My stomach hurts, but I don’t have parasites.  I crave food, but I have everything I need.

For those who are curious, today’s menu:

Breakfast – oatmeal with cinnamon

Lunch – lentil soup (water, lentils, tomato paste, carrots)

Dinner – brown rice, egg, green onions

What amazes me the most about many people who live in poverty is their generosity.  It’s easy enough to be generous when there are no painful aftereffects, but these people are generous when it hurts.  I remember having dinner with people in Mexico who voluntarily spent their year’s savings on a meal for our team.  Similarly, Craig Kielburger told a story about a young beggar girl who received an orange from a foreigner, and shared it joyfully with the other children.  And those are two stories among many.  Talk about role models.

I learned today that I can be quite selfish sometimes.  When I’m feeling hungry, sharing food with someone else is very difficult.  The desire to share is definitely not a natural response when it means my own needs won’t be covered.  And that is merely at a level of discomfort.  For some, the consequences of giving are much more severe.

I once read a book about acting that said, “True character is revealed under pressure.”  That’s a tough one for me, because I tend to get irritable when my stomach is growling!  But it makes me think of the impoverished people I’ve met with a profound level of respect.  I am inspired by their strength, by their enduring joy, and by their capacity to love selflessly — a capacity I can hardly begin to understand.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – Jesus (John 13:35)

Lord, teach us how to love.

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When the dust settles

August 8, 2009

It’s been over a week now since the challenge ended, and I’m finding it difficult not to swing back into my old routine.  At the same time, I feel restless in this lifestyle.  I want more. Not more stuff, but more reality.  Not more money.  More faith.

Then what?

July 26, 2009

So what happens when these 7 days are done?

Stay tuned on our blog for updates about the challenge, as well as advice, resources, and recipes that can help you if you are interested in joining us.

Eating rice, lentils, oats, and carrots for a week really isn’t that difficult.  Yeah, there are challenging times, but the experience is well worth it.  Worth every dollar. (ha)

Seriously, if you’re at all interested in doing this, let me encourage you to go for it.

Here are a couple simple tips to get you started:

– we realized a few days in that we could have bought less rice and spent the money on other food.  Tomato sauce, salt, and garlic would have been very helpful.  Chicken boullion would have been nice too.  We found that a cup of rice each was enough for lunch and dinner for a day (more than enough for me, but not quite enough for Ben, so it balanced out), and oats in the morning was really cost effective.

– lentils are a GREAT idea.  They are an easy source of protein, and if you’re trying to get a sense of what people eat overseas, lentils or other beans/legumes are often a staple.

– soup is also a great idea.  Some friends of ours recently sent aid packages overseas, and they said each package was a soup mix that included rice, lentils, a teaspoon of dried vegetables, and a teaspoon of chicken boullion.

– the bulk section at the grocery store may become your close friend.

– when rice and lentils start to get a little boring, try boiling about half a cup of dry lentils with lots of water and about 4 chopped carrots.  Then puree the soup mixture, add a tiny bit of salt, and pour the mixture over rice.  On about Day 5, this tastes AMAZING.  Special thanks to Erin for telling me the idea!  We appreciated that a lot.  🙂

– we chose dried foods that don’t need to be refrigerated because we wanted the experience to be as close to people’s experiences overseas as possible.  If you would prefer to choose other foods, though, that’s totally up to you.  A dollar a day will probably get you a lot further than you expect, as long as you use your creativity!

Cheap-yet-satisfying foods:

most of these are pretty obvious, but we wish we had thought of some of them at the time…

– canned tuna or other canned fish

– dried beans and lentils

– pasta, oatmeal, and rice (any food that expands in water is a very exciting concept when you’re living on a small budget)

– tomato sauce/paste/etc.

– garlic

– carrots

– bread

– refried beans and tortillas