Friday, June 23, 2017

Day 23: Solving for hope

Tonight ended my first 23 days and marks the beginning of the final week of the challenge. So it was time to do a ration check and final plan for the next few days to make sure I know what I'm working with here. This is a shot of what I've got left.

What I'm running low on:
  • Oatmeal: probably only two more servings. A little disappointed here because I was assuming that the serving size count on the label was accurate. It said there were "about 30" servings of a half-cup of oatmeal. Not true. Only about 24. It's a morning staple for me on this challenge, but with only two servings left, I'll have to improvise and make the other ingredients stretch.
  • Pasta Sauce: I didn't really expect it to last as long as it has, so I'm not too worried about this. It makes everything zestier, and it's the only kind of ingredient of its kind in my spread, so it will be missed, but not a huge deal. Will probably save what little is left to go with the remaining pasta I have.
  • Beans: I had blogged earlier about how I made a mistake in the first week and ate too many beans. Since then I've been rationing strictly to about a 1/3rd cup of cooked beans per day, and that has paid off. I am now coming into the final week with what should be a sufficient supply, but the rations will still be tight.
  • Frozen Banana Slices: Holding steady, but will only have about 3 slices a day for the remainder of the challenge. These make amazing little night time snacks, tasting just like banana pudding pops. With raisins and a dash of cinnamon, it's a nice little boost. 
  • Cabbage: If you've been following along, you'll recall that I suspected my cabbage had gone bad around day 10, so I threw it out. I was sick for two days after consuming what seemed like rotten cabbage in my soup. No fun at all. 
What I feel like I have plenty of:
  • Eggs: I'll have two per day, and on two of the next seven days, I'll have 3 eggs. This is very helpful, as they're a great protein source and can be used in everything. 
  • Potatoes: Great news here. Thanks to conservative rationing in the earlier days of the challenge, I will now have a full potato for each of the remaining seven days of the challenge. 
  • Pasta: Again thanks to being super conservative with rations on pasta, I think I should now have a small bowl of pasta available each of the remaining seven days. I will probably use some in soups as well. 
  • Ramen Noodles: Doing fine here, as half a ramen brick is plenty for six of the remaining seven days. Great and filling when added to my soups. 
  • Brown Rice: Holding steady and I think I'll be all set with about three more servings (a serving is one cup dry) to last me for just a week. Should be plenty, all things considered. 
  • Raisins: Just eyeballing it, I'm happy that it looks like I should have a small handful each day. These are great little power snacks when the hunger hits in between the small meals. 
  • Corn Tortillas: Thanks to being cautious on the front end, I will now have 3 corn tortillas per day through the end of the challenge! This is fantastic news, because there's just so much you can do with these. Homemade corn chips, tostadas, tacos, and taquitos are all made possible by these beautiful little gifts from God.
  • Carrots: Fortunately, I'll be able to up my carrot ration from 1/3rd carrot to a full 1/2 carrot each day remaining! This is honestly a result of being lazy in not measuring out the carrots precisely, and being afraid that I'd run out, because these are a really nice addition to my soups. So it looks like we'll be fine on the carrot front as we head into the final stretch.

I write all of this out so that you can see how much thinking goes into this.  I have seen first hand those living in the urban slums of the developing world being so conservative with their rations; buying only small portions of staples in the market and then having to be really smart about how to make them stretch.

Once such scene is a vivid memory for me. Here a woman prepares a very basic soup broth to put into a thermos to take to work. Her job, like many living in the Katoogo slum settlement of Kampala, is probably day labor, sifting through trash, sorting recyclables by type, to be paid about $1, for the whole day's work. 

On the other side of the equation from this scene, Hope. We are able to offer about 130 children in this slum colony three fresh-cooked meals each school day, at our school, "The Children's Hope Center." Basic ingredients, yes, but fresh and much, much better than what they're getting otherwise. This is EXACTLY what the "Monthly Donor Heart-Chart" DIRECTLY impacts.

Speaking of the "Heart-Chart," I have fantastic news tonight! We got THREE hearts sponsored today: $46/mo, $51/mo, and $52/mo! What I love is that the $52/mo heart was sponsored by three donors who used the "Heart of Gold" option to donate monthly whatever they could afford. Community-pooled resources in love-action!

This puts the lower third of the chart looking like this tonight-- real progress! Wow! I now have 29 hearts sponsored of my 50-heart goal, which means we just need to fill three hearts each day for the rest of the challenge. We can do this! 

Charitable goal explanation. For those of you just tuning in, I'll recap what I'm trying to achieve with the "Monthly Donor Heart-Chart" and my goal of finding 50 new sponsors for these "hearts" which I like to think of as representing lives being transformed and, ultimately, saved.

Why am I seeking monthly donors? The orphan care, child labor response, and human trafficking response programs we've pioneered at Peace Gospel and She Has Hope— while sustained in part by small business enterprise— need charitable support to be fully sustained. The budgets of these programs have fixed, monthly expenses. Thus, while one-time donations are deeply appreciated, it's the monthly donations that give us something to count on and plan with. Therefore, long-term, they're the most powerful.

If you're willing to make a small monthly sacrifice of any amount to help ensure that the following merciful actions are fully funded each month, I would be grateful for your partnership with me in this effort. With your help, our monthly budget enables us to…
  • Provide resident care for 290 orphans in 11 homes in Asia and Africa
  • Operate 4 schools and 4 after-school care programs reaching over 1000 children
  • Serve approx. 50,000 fresh meals to children in our programs
  • Train 100s of girls how to avoid the dangers of human trafficking
  • House, rehabilitate and empower 20 girls recovering from human trafficking

On to what I was able to create with just $1 worth of food today. Thanks to being conservative in the first half of the challenge, I now have 3 corn tortillas per day, and one whole potato per day for the rest of the challenge. That allowed for some relatively flexible recipes today. Savory porridge is a whole lot better than it sounds. It's a mix of brown rice, oatmeal, and one beaten egg dropped into the boiling water while it cooks. Seasoned the right way, it's a nice start to the day. Cost: about $0.33.

Click or tap on image to enlarge...




Take Action!

1) Please consider helping me reach my goal to find 50 new "Sustainers"— donors willing to give a small amount each month toward our work helping vulnerable children and trafficking survivors. Learn more and sign up here!

2) Please visit my unofficial sponsor, through this link. 7% of your purchases made through the link are given to the work of Peace Gospel's programs helping orphans, at-risk children of the slums, and human trafficking survivors.

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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