Thoughts, feelings and conclusions…

It’s been almost a whole week since this challenge ended for me. I had the best of intentions to post a follow-up entry on this blog before now.

THE  BEST OF INTENTIONS!

Sort of...

But it’s been a busy week. Although some would argue that’s no excuse for my lack of follow-up…except that it is.

Also, bite me.

Love.

So I came into this challenge with my guns blazing.

You're no match for my guns!

But I soon realized that this was going to be much much harder than I anticipated.

Oh my.

I mean, I knew it would be hard but I was grossly unprepared for the constant hunger, the never-ending thoughts about food and the crankiness. Oh the crankiness.

I was pretty unbearable for most of the week. I have since apologized to my partner for any undeserved grouchiness I may have thrown in his direction during the $1.50 challenge.

Just call me Miss Cranky Pants

However, I refuse to feel badly about the deserved grouchiness.

One part that was pretty bad was seeing others with food and not being able to have any. I became resentful of their ability to eat what I could not.

You jelly?

It became almost unbearable when I ventured out to a coffee shop with a friend and could see the food but was unable to buy any. The temptation, and resulting frustration at my inability to “give in”, was enraging.

Curse you temptation!

The biggest things I came away with, after all is said and done, were:

1) Nobody deserves a life like this

I was not comfortable posting most of the images I found on google of extreme poverty and starvation because they're too upsetting. Nobody deserves this...nobody.

What I experienced was only a fraction of what millions of people go through every single day of their lives and I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. It sucks that there are people in the world suffering like this, and I hope the money I raised helps at least some of them.

2) Placing the blame on the people in this situation is NOT the solution. They don’t need judgements – they need a way out.

As far as I'm concerned, blaming people for poverty is just a way to avoid doing anything about it...

I’ve heard a lot of people through the years place the blame on the individual. They say things like, “well, they should just go work at McDonald’s then!” and, I admit, I used to think that way.

But I’ve realized as I get older that sometimes no matter how hard you fight to stay afloat, you still end up drowning.

And once you're down, it's extremely hard to get back up again.

Sometimes, life just gets away from you and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. In those times what people need are a helping hand, a way out…not judgements and blame.

3) There’s not nearly enough solutions designed to help homeless and poverty-stricken people long-term. Most available programs are band-aid solutions (soup kitchens), which are desperately needed and crucial to people’s survival, but they’re not helping in the long run.

I’ve talked about my idea for a community kitchen: a place with fridges, stoves and other kitchen appliances that people living in extreme (or any kind of) poverty could use on a daily basis. They could use these kitchens to store food and bulk items (which are much cheaper to purchase overall).

And people could pool their food together to cook larger meals and share costs, making it easier to survive on $1.50 or less a day.

Working together for the win!

It could also serve as a way to teach people food industry-related skills and abilities, and give them recipes for affordable meals.

Another idea I had, which is not new by any means, is to have a “catch-all address” program.

Basically, an organization would offer their address to people who don’t have one. What I mean is that a homeless person could use a “fake” address to apply for a job. Then they can pick up all their mail at said address for free (but they wouldn’t actually live there). By doing this, they can avoid the catch-22 of needing an address to get a job, and needing a job to get an address – but still be contacted by potential employers. It would also have a phone so they could get voicemail messages and return calls.

We need to do more to help people around the world, and not just in the short term.

In the end, I raised 87% of my $1,000 goal. That’s $868 to C.A.R.E., who can now provide lots of health services to women in Africa, Asia and Latin America before, during and after pregnancy. If you’d like to continue being involved with CARE, please visit their website for more information: CARE (Canada)

I couldn’t have done this without you guys. You gave me the support and encouragement I needed to make it through the week and for that, I’m eternally grateful. The last few hours (on Friday) were the hardest but those last-minute donations really helped me to hold strong until the clock struck midnight.

Seriously, you do.

By the way, when midnight did roll around last week, I made myself a meal fit for a Queen: rice, tomatoes, a chopped up chicken breast and a pork chop.

I never knew pork chops could taste that good. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

In conclusion, I’d like to continue helping out charities and will be getting more involved with the local soup kitchen and the Fredericton homeless shelter. If you’d like to also get involved, check out their websites.

Of course, I’ll still also stay involved with the Fredericton SPCA.

Again, thank you everyone for your contributions and your belief that I could make it. I was more than happy to do this in your place in order to help out a worthy cause and bring more awareness to a dire situation around the world.

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Day five: supper and a snack…

I am literally counting down the time till I can eat a proper meal. I don’t want to be hungry anymore. I just can’t imagine anyone living with this all day every day for 365 days a year.

It’s not fair.

So what did I have for my “last supper”?

I decided to crack open my can of chicken noodle soup (59 cents) and I added 3 cans of water to it to make it last longer. I also added 3/4 tsp of chicken bouillon (6 cents) and 1/4 tsp of curry spices (2 cents) for a total of $0.67. Making my overall total for today $1.33, leaving me 17 cents.

The soup nazi is wrong, I WILL have some soup!

I really thought that chicken noodle soup would be enough to last me until midnight but, like clockwork, about an hour or two later I was absolutely starving again.

So I added together what I had left from today (17 cents) and my savings (40 cents), which gave me $0.57 and I used it to have a snack.

ONTO THE SNACK!

I decided to spend every last penny, save one, for my snack. I had 4 hot dogs (28 cents for all 4), and 2 slices of bread (28 cents for both). It cost me $0.56…

And I can’t believe it but a half hour later, I’m still hungry. This is insanity.

Well, not as insane as her...

I don’t care what people say, you never get completely used to the hunger. It doesn’t become normal because it’s not normal.

Your body does not want to be hungry. It knows something’s wrong and it wants to make sure you know as well.

Sometimes your body just whispers to you that something is amiss, other times it screams at you to god damn eat.

But no matter how much I seem to eat at this point, my body still feels hungry, regardless of whether it is or not. I think I’ve gone into survival mode and my body is trying to get me to eat as much as possible by telling me I’m always hungry. That way, I’ll eat more.

To the max!

It makes me want to cry when I think about all the people in the world who go hungry all the time.

Only 3 hours left.

Tomorrow I will post a wrap-up about this challenge and summarize some of the things I’ve learned and some of the unexpected things that arose during the week.

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Day five: update…

I did it!

I ate the whole banana!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go NOT eat another banana ever again.

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Day five: lunch…

Whenever I have stomach troubles I just stick to very plain and bland foods, so that was the goal for today.

At around 11am, when I just couldn’t stand the hunger any longer, I toasted a piece of plain white bread and ate it. It’s wonder plus, so it’s s bit healthier than plain bread.

Totally wish I had panda bread tho...

And that 1 slice of toast actually went a long way in making me feel more energized and less full-of-rage.

Do you like my rage face?

Of course, by 2:30pm I was famished so I ate half a banana. I tried REALLY HARD to eat the whole banana but it’s just too…bananay.

There is such a thing as TOO much banana.

I feel badly though, because if I don’t eat the other half I’ve just wasted about 16 cents of my budget.

I bet Mr. Monkey would eat my banana

I will try to force myself to eat it, so as to not waste the moolahs. But it’s hard.

I scareded.

The breakdown:

1 slice of bread – 14 cents
1 banana – 33 cents
TOTAL for this meal = 47 cents

TOTAL for today (so far) = 66 cents, leaving me with 84 cents for supper.

My last supper for this challenge, I might add.

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Day five: breakfast…

I am beyond exhausted today.

I know how you feel little buddy.

Ttired, sleepy and drained.

If only it weren't inappropriate to do this at work...

On Wednesday, when I first starting getting a bit tired/rundown, I assumed it was the result of disturbances in my sleeping pattern but now I think it’s because of such a drastic change in my diet.

I’m a carnavore. Always have been, always will be. My favourite food is bacon, wrapped in bacon, topped with bacon.

It really does.

I usually eat a smorgasbord of meat on a daily basis, but this week that was too expensive for me. So I’ve more or less switched to a vegetarian diet, without the veggies.

I wanna be friends with whoever took this photo.

And, of course, without the proper nutrients to keep you going (and upbeat) you start to feel rundown. Maybe even depressed or angry.

If I had to continue this, if it wasn’t a choice, I think my days would be filled with a lot of anger and frustration. I’d be angry about not having any choice in the matter, angry about being hungry all the time, angry about not having the money to buy the things I want to eat, angry about how much life costs, and especially angry at everyone who had money.

I wouldn’t care if they earned it…it’d be frustrating to see people walking around with the ability to buy whatever they wanted when I couldn’t.

Now there's a woman with anger problems...

ONTO BREAKFAST!

Once again, I had a black coffee with 1 tsp of sugar. That’s 19 cents of my day gone.

I’m very glad there’s only 14 hours of this challenge remaining. I think, when it’s all done, I’m going to get involved in some local organizations.

There’s a Community Kitchen in Fredericton, which is actually a soup kitchen but that’s still an immensely useful service that helps a lot of people. It’s too bad there’s no community kitchen here to allow people to cook for themselves (an idea I mentioned in one of my earlier posts) but a soup kitchen is a start, especially for a smaller town like Fredericton.

I also found websites for the Fredericton Homeless Shelter and the Fredericton Food Bank.

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Day four: snack…

I’m not sure if you noticed but over the last four days I haven’t actually hit my $1.50 limit. I’ve come close but never quite hit it.

Which means, at this point, I have: $0.63 in savings

I'm rich! I'm rich!

Normally, I wouldn’t bother using this but after my stomach upset tonight I’ve decided to delve into my “savings” and have a snack to put something back in my stomach. I’m going to have a hot dog (oven cooked) wrapped in a slice of healthy bread…which will cost me 23 cents.

Worth it.

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Day four: dinner…

Once again, tonight, I had stomach problems. I don’t know what caused it. Maybe it was the “grainwise” pasta, maybe it was the half can of Bravo pasta sauce….maybe it’s my body protesting this challenge. Who can say?

All I know is, I don’t like having an upset stomach.

Icky.

Since I don’t feel well (and still don’t), I’m not going to make a long post here. Suffice it to say, I’m glad tomorrow is the last day of this challenge.

It’s worth it to raise money for CARE but I’m ready to start the road to recovery for my poor digestive tract.

The breakdown:

1/4 package of pasta – 22 cents
1/2 can of Bravo spaghetti sauce – 44 cents
Total: 66 cents

Overall today: supper (66 cents), lunch (50 cents), breakfast (19 cents) =  $1.35

Leaving me with 15 cents.

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