As a big guy (and an even bigger eater), the challenge of limiting myself to $1.50 of food for one day was that of willpower and resistance. Through this process, I have come to gain a sense of self and a greater appreciation for the 1 billion people who suffer from malnourishment due to poverty….
I think I’ll keep this blog post short and sweet, to mirror the quality and quantity of our meals.
Breakfast consisted of minute oatmeal (with a hint of peach juice that we preserved from our can of peaches) and instant coffee. One of my fellow ONE members will have to comment at some point on their own experiences with the instant coffee (which, I might add, was roughly a dollar for at least a dozen servings worth), but I heard that it was pretty terrible. I do remember hearing a reference made to fish food, if that gives you any context.
I don’t really have time to eat lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays normally because of class scheduling issues, so I planned to pack myself a peanut butter sandwich (which was thankfully a triple-decker sandwich) to have between classes. The funny thing, though, is that it can be hard to execute plans realistically, and as a matter of fact, I got back to my room after breakfast this morning, and thought to myself, “Realistically, there’s no way I’m going to make it through three classes this morning and afternoon on nothing more than 3/4 a cup of oatmeal.” And then I proceeded to enjoy my peanut butter sandwich brunch.
Amazingly, having brunch at 9:30 in the morning didn’t leave me absolutely desperate for dinner—at least, not as much as I was afraid it would. We had planned to eat spaghetti, but we had some conflicting schedules in the evening, and decided that we should save the spaghetti until we could eat it all together. So, three of us ended up having for dinner what we had eaten for lunch yesterday: buttered white rice, green beans, four peach slices, and a spoonful of peanut butter. And, just as I felt yesterday after lunch, I once again took stock of myself and couldn’t help but still feel hungry, even with the knowledge that I would survive… Which is, of course, more than I imagine hundreds of millions of people around the world could say for themselves.
One of our University of Michigan students had this to say about living on $1.50 per day —
"Two days into the $1.50/day challenge, and the temptation to cheat has already arrived. This is likely due to the fact that my sad little pile of peanut butter, bread and bananas that I’m currently living off of is sitting right next to my rather un-sad pile of Halloween candy, cookies and soup. My stomach hasn’t been too happy about me ignoring that delicious second pile, but I just have to ignore it. If over 1billion people worldwide live off $1.50 a day for extended periods, I should be able to go a few days. At the very core, that’s the main reason I decided to participate in this challenge in the first place. Having been to meetings all year and hearing about all the bad things going on in the world is one thing. Experiencing even just a small part of these problems is something completely different. Participating in the challenge puts in perspective a lot of the things that ONE is campaigning against, and ultimately makes them that much more real. This is especially true when the challenge affects things you take for granted every single day. Four different friends have asked me to have meals with them in the last two days, and I explained the challenge to all four of them, telling them it would have to wait. Two of those friends called me crazy. I’ll give them that. It probably is a little crazy to ignore all the delicious snacks and not-so-delicious dorm food I’m surrounded by. But honestly, the perspective I’m getting out of the $1.50/day challenge is definitely worth more than any of that."
We’re diving into Challenge #2, and we need your help:
Nearly 1 billion people around the world live on $1.50 a day, and for the next couple of weeks we’re challenging you (students, alumni, faculty and friends) to live on just $1.50, too. You can take the challenge for any amount of time — one day or one week — and encourage people you know to join you. This is one of the OCC’s toughest challenges to date, but we know you’re up to it — but taking the challenge is only the first part.
Deciding how to spread the word is part two. Write a series of blog posts about your experience and submit them directly to us. Submit a letter to the editor about the need to fight chronic global hunger. Sign our petition to fight famine. Or call your member of congress and urge him or her to support programs that help the world’s poorest fight poverty for the long-term. Click here to learn more, download the toolkit, and get started!
ONE has been campaigning fiercely to wake the world up to the terrible tragedy happening in the Horn of Africa. More than 30,000 children have died in just three months, and honestly I can hardly wrap my mind and heart around it. Yet despite this, all I see is inaction. News coverage of the crisis is intermittent and governments around the world have yet to fill the $650 million funding gap needed to provide emergency services. And perhaps worst of all, none of this had to happen in the first place.
Here’s a fact worth knowing: drought is inevitable, but famine is not. Amazing. We know how to prevent famine. People need to know that famine is not just “something that happens in Africa,” and that we not only need to address the immediate needs of families literally starving to death, but also ensure that it never happens again. Break the cycle of famine? Sounds good to me.