Tuesday, July 3, 2012

day 21: for the elderly caregivers

Tonight I dedicate day 21 to the elderly caregivers of the slums. These women, like the ones pictured below, are suffering from various health issues but are expected to care for their grandchildren as the parents work long hours in hazardous conditions, and even as they themselves work sifting through the trash searching for recyclables. Many of them are also widows which, in India, brings its own set of challenges due to cultural stigmas associated with them. Sadly, blame is often placed on the widow for her husband's death.

They love their grandchildren, but the obvious concern is that they're not in a stable enough condition to care for them properly. This is one of the reasons you will often see children wandering around barefoot in the slums. That's where a solution like The Children's Hope Center comes in with an effective approach: preparing children for everything they need to enroll at local schools we're partnered with, caring for the children before and after school, offering tutoring, computer lessons, and a warm meal before departing for home. This gets them out of the slums and out of danger when their parents are away during working hours, into a program that's allowing them to advance and develop at an accelerated pace.

Yesterday I promised you that I would update you on some exciting developments at the Hope Center. The project began as a humble effort to do something--again, reflecting our theme throughout this blog--to overcome indifference, to defeat that feeling of "oh well, the problem is far too big, so what can we possibly do to solve it?" At first it was just a tiny rental property with a very small building. It was just enough for the computer lab and some storage. The children met outdoors on mats under a tent awning.

But then, thanks to some concerned individuals who all pitched in (much like is happening here), we were able to buy that same property, which had come up for sale. And then money was raised for the new building, which is just a couple of weeks away from being completed! And at the same time a clean water well is being installed. We will share this water well with the local slum community--this will make a huge impact among the colony.

We've already discussed on this blog that many of the illnesses in the slums, and deaths of the children, are caused by the consumption of contaminated water. So just right there, with the addition of clean water at the Center, we're going to be solving a lot of the health problems of the local colony where we work! Here's a photo of the new building in progress, where the water well will be located also.

Fundraising update! A great little story to share with you. A friend who has been to these places with me and her husband had a great idea today. She's pregnant and they recently found out the gender of their baby. She told her Facebook friends that she would announce the gender only after her friends went to this blog and contributed a total of least $250 toward my goal. Well, guess what? She raised not $250, not $500, but $735! I was stunned! This puts us just a few dollars shy of the $5,000 goal to sponsor 10 of these kids' scholarships and bring them into the program! Now the total stands at $4,888!

I never imagined we would get this close to the goal on day 21. This is extremely encouraging, and making my hunger seem very bearable, even dare I say, enjoyable! Thank you for the amazing outpouring of support!

But we're not quite there yet! Would anyone want to do the honor of bringing in the 10th child for just $122, or at least chip in what you can toward this amount? You can donate here.

On to what I was able to cook up for $1 today with these limited ingredients. My strategy lately has been going heavier on breakfast and lunch, and ending with a lighter dinner most nights. This seems to be working really well in keeping me sustained more evenly through the day. I'm running low on some supplies, and had to throw out one rotting potato. But I've been diligent to ration everything and I should be ok right up through day 30. Again, please remember that one of the main points of this blog is to demonstrate to you that, while hunger does play some role in this challenge, it is completely possible to find nourishment and substance from $30 of food. The point being, how much more could you find it from $60 of food for 30 days, or even $90 for 30 days? Time to simplify?

Breakfast. I followed the tostada recipe for baking a corn tortilla and served a fried egg on top of that, and ate it together to create a new sense of variety--sensational! Another small portion of hash browns--these are delicious. Standard oatmeal and raisins seasoned with season-all--can't go wrong here.

Lunch. This was a definite winner. A friend from Instagram again had a brilliant idea. (Annetta, you saved me so many times with your amazing brainstorms!) I've already done egg fried rice, but she had the stroke of genius to add cooked ramen noodles to the egg fried rice. Oh my, this was delicious and felt like a real meal. Then, bonus, I had enough for a re-fried bean taquito, baked in the oven at 500F/260C for 8 minutes. This was a serious meal, for about 33 cents!

Dinner. Again I was down to soup ingredients by dinner. Did a kind of potato & rice minestrone soup. I had been saving up my potato skin shavings from the past few days, and added this to the soup to give it a lot of extra texture and nutrients. Also included toasted corn tortilla strips.

Take Action!

1) Please consider giving toward my goal of 10 scholarships for children of the Indian slums. So far we've raised $4,888 of my $5,000 goal to cover 10 scholarships. Every little bit helps!

2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, Amazon.com 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. One of the main goals 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!

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