Saturday, June 23, 2012

day 11: living like a king on $1

I'm dedicating day 11 to a lady I met named Beena and her daughter, pictured below in a slum colony of South India. Compared to them, I'm living like a king, even on $1 of food a day. She sifts through the trash looking for redeemable metals and preps them for redemption, scraping by on about $1 a day--not just for food, mind you, but for every need. Their deplorable living environment is right on the edge of a stagnant canal filled with sewage and trash where her daughter plays barefoot with the other children of the colony. Their shelter is composed of a basic frame of sticks tied together and draped with tarps, plastic bags, and vinyl banners found from scavenging through the trash dump.

I'm writing this post and publishing these photos just as much for myself as for anyone else. I don't know where your heart is, I don't how you live your life. I just know that, as for me, I take a lot for granted and complain about really ridiculous things like discovering the microwave not being reset to zero when I start punching in the time. It messes up the time of my cooking and I get irritated with whoever left it that way. I mean, come on, I've got a microwave, with electricity, that nukes my food to piping hot in 60 seconds. And I'm complaining? I've decided to stop complaining about that. I'll just check the timer each time before I use it, problem solved. Wow, imagine that.

I need to look at my photos of the slums more often. So that as I'm preparing my meals made of fresh ingredients in my posh air conditioned kitchen, I can remember how good I have it, and remember why I do what I do to bring awareness for them... to remember why I need to speak up for these who do not have the platform to speak, nor anyone to go to for help. They're simply in survival mode.

So as I've said before, I'm not trying to wage a "shock" campaign here. I'm just inviting you in to my world, to let you peer in to what I've seen, and to hear what I have to say about it.

The stagnant canal next to their home, where the children play barefoot:

One of the girls playing there:

A peek inside their humble shelter:

Now that the reality check is on the table for me and everyone else who needs it, back to why I'm doing this: I'm trying to raise enough funds to rescue 10 more children who scavenge with their parents in these trash heaps. You can help rescue them through sponsoring a scholarship or a portion of a scholarship that covers their expenses to be enrolled in our education center in the slums of Hyderabad, India. It's called "The Children's Hope Center" and you can read more about it here. The great news is that today we raised another $500 toward the $5,000 goal, putting us at $1,950! Now we're just $50 shy of having 4 complete scholarships in place! This is fantastic news! Thank you to all who have contributed even small amounts--it all makes a huge difference!

For those of you interested in keeping up with my challenge, here's the meal run-down for today. Some more innovation and experimentation that overall turned out really well, all things considered!

Breakfast. This was the best breakfast I've had on the challenge, and maybe even the best breakfast I've had in a couple of months, honestly. I made some very basic seasoned hash-browns, a one-egg omelette with diced carrots, and oatmeal with raisins. The variety was off the charts compared to other breakfasts the past several days.

Lunch. I was in a hurry so I just had to throw together a quick soup, but it was really good and hearty. If it had to have a name, I guess I'd call it a "bean, rice, ramen noodle, potato, egg-drop spicy tortilla soup." I used the spicy ramen seasoning pack, which has some serious kick to it. Delicious.  The trick is not overloading it with too many beans or too much rice--just enough to add texture and variety.

Dinner. It occurred to me that I had bean using the pinto bean broth (saved from cooking the beans) in every soup or stew I've so far prepared the past 10 days. So I realized it would provide some good variety to have a much more simplified soup. So I made a cabbage and pasta soup with a the clear broth gained from cooking them together. Seasoned slightly with the spicy ramen seasoning again. It was light, but spicy and tasty. Combined with a side of lightly re-fried pinto beans and my usual homemade tortilla strips, it was a solid meal.

Barefoot update. Not much to report here. Still getting hot feet on the pavement in this hot Houston summer, and stepping on a lot of uncomfortable objects. But again, it's nothing compared to what those in the slums must walk on. But it keeps them on my mind and humbles me to be thankful.

Take Action!

1) Please consider giving toward my goal of 10 scholarships for children of the Indian slums. So far we've raised $1,950 of my $5,000 goal to cover 10 scholarships. We're just $50 shy of 4 scholarships covered! Every little bit helps!

2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, through this link. 7% of your purchases made through the link are given to Peace Gospel. If you're in the UK, use this link.

3) If you're compelled by my effort here, please share it with friends. The main goal is awareness. So if you can help with that, huge.

4) Leave me feedback. Please comment on this post, especially if you have any ideas about what I should try to cook with these ingredients I have available. I love hearing from you! It really helps!


  1. Good evening again!

    Right I was thinking of another recipe - cook rice, beans, carrots (dice them small), scramble eggs. Stir fry all together on a low heat then spoon them into cabbage leaves. Roll the leaves and eat. So it's like a cabbage stuffing lol.

  2. PS - have you tried mashing carrots/potatoes up for a different texture?