First off, let me state that I don’t think what we are about to do is a noble thing. In many ways, I feel like it is such a first world way of looking at a very serious problem in the world. Nevertheless, I hope that if only in some small way I will better understand what 1.4 billion of my brothers and sisters go through every day of their lives. Of course, I will never be able to comprehend what it is like to not be able to feed my family, or to worry about where our next meal will come from. I will never have to worry about getting sick from the water I drink. In these ways, I realize that what I am doing in no way compares to what families go through on a regular basis.
So here we are on the eve of this challenge, which will run for five days. I have a pantry full of food. I have buckets full of grain. Our fridge and our freezer are mostly full. For five days, this will be off limits. Between Jana, me, our three year old boy, and our 16 month old son, we get $6.00 per day, so $30.00 in all. Of course, having more children does not mean an increased living allowance for those that live below the line, but that is the way it’s going down with us. We purchased our five days worth of food at the grocery store on Friday. If we already had the ingredients at home, we determined to use those ingredients, but to use the cost that we found at the store that day. In other words, the oats we will be using will eat up quite a bit more of our budget than if we were to just figure how much they cost us at our bulk rate (by the way, if you are not buying oats in bulk, you are getting ripped off). Jana and I intend to plan all of the meals in advance, which is probably another area where this challenge misses the mark.
I’m certain that all of the human family who lives below the line of extreme poverty would much rather do it the way I am doing it: in a comfortable home, with an electric oven/stove, reliable transportation, a good job where I will likely make more in a day than many of these people make in a year, and a bunch of good food and clean water waiting around in case we can’t hack it.
I hope that all of this confirms that I understand what I am doing is not what a significant portion of the earth’s population would call hard. Now, will you endure my whining for a moment while I tell you about how hard this will be for me?
Most days I find myself peeking into the fridge or the pantry at least five times between meals to nibble on something. My two boys love their own snacks as well. I never want my children to go hungry, and due to the abundance I find myself in, they likely never will. I don’t know what I would do if I was faced with a decision to feed my children or send them to school. But there have been at least a few people tell us on No Poor Among Them that some parents indeed have to make that decision. Being unable to provide for my family would create such stress in my family life. It would destroy my psyche. I really want to take this thing seriously. But if I see my children suffer because they are hungry, all bets are off.
For the next five days, we will keep you posted on our journey. We hope that it, in some very small way, can help us relate to those who really live below the line, and not just as some game.