Tuesday, February 28, 2017

$3.10 Poverty Challenge: Pre-Challenge

Tomorrow I begin the $3.10 Poverty Challenge, which means I will live on $3.10 each day for 10 days. This preceding week brought on a bit of anxiety over the choices I will have to make while I continue serving the Lord.

Water and Power: My landlady reports that for 67 cents each day I can have water and electricity. If I chose not to spend that 67 cents, I can walk several kilometers to the nearest bore hole and carry 20-liter jerry cans (which I do not have) back home as well as use candles for light, which doesn’t help with the fan or the computer. That decision was easy. Water and electricity for 67 cents, please. What remains each day is $2.43.

Daily Grooming: Brushing my teeth at least twice daily is not optional (5 cents), let’s say I already own a toothbrush. Washing my hair daily is not optional (3 cents) and I’ll use that soap to wash the rest of me as it slides its way down. Hair gel so I don’t look like a mop…skip it, I don’t have a mirror anyway and people here are happy to tell me I’m fat but they won’t comment on my windblown mop. Nail polish for the 10 days…gulp…skip it. Good thing I’m not a make-up girl. Oh, toilet tissue—while I could use the giant leaves outside my window, I’m not ready to give this one up just yet (5 cents). Yes, I did actual estimated calculations and no I didn’t include deodorant. Add to this bug spray and sun block, both are essential (5 cents each).

Here’s the total. After I scantily put myself together in the morning, I’ll have $2.20 cents to travel, eat, and make phone calls and, yes, I do have an appointment at 9:00 tomorrow morning at Malindi Hospital.

I think the most important lesson from these pre-challenge days is the reality that I can plan for being poor. I can chose what to do and how to do it, and what to postpone until after the 10 days are up. The poor have no such choices. I doubt there is one poor person (a person living on less than $3.10 a day) who would say, "Oh ya, I saw this coming and so I prepared by doing xyz." Choice. The poor often don't have any choice.