Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Day 6: Hunger Journal

Today was another great day, we picked up more momentum on the "Heart-Chart" with the $24/mo and $48/mo hearts being sponsored today! But before I write about that, I wanted to share some reflections on my hunger and the challenge of making these limited ingredients work.

Today I pondered what it must be like to face this challenge without a finish line, thinking about the millions who face this challenge as a lifestyle they have no reasonable way out of.

Some of the things you start to feel when faced with a low-calorie, carb-heavy diet that lacks variety:
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Decreased brain function; feeling "slower"
  • Lack of motivation to be creative
  • A sense of redundancy in food preparation
  • Distraction, lack of focus due to hunger

The things I spent time thinking about, and feelings I experienced today, my sort of "hunger journal" if you will:
Breakfast: woke up hungry, didn't have time to be creative, perhaps could have prepared something else but just went for the standard oatmeal and threw a fried egg on top. Just get something down the hatch, I thought. 

My frozen banana ration is looking off course, I'll just add three slices to my oatmeal vs. four. 

11am, thinking about lunch, ramen noodle soup never sounded better, I want to eat lunch at 11:30. Ok, lunch down, feel better. I think this 2/3 small potato fits in my ration plan, but I don't care, I will just pay for it later, I'm hungry now. 

When adding beans to my soup, I held back as I looked at my dwindling supply, thinking, oh man, to run out of beans before the end of the month would be a major curveball. Beans are one of my few sources of protein. 

Dang, I realized that I mis-allocated my ramen rations the first 5 days of the challenge; need to conserve noodles so I'll just go with a 3rd of a ramen brick in my soup today. 

Making my third batch of brown rice, I was happy to see that my first of three bags is still holding steady; looks like it should hold for its 10-day allocation. Yes!

I have enough eggs to provide me with 2 per day and 3 every other day. Today was a two egg day. I thought, I'm so hungry, an egg in my soup sounds so good, but let's save it for dinner. 

When peeling the shell off my hard boiled egg, dangit, part of the egg white came off with that chunk of shell! That's some serious protein right there!
You get the idea. People who face this kind of extreme poverty have food and food preparation on their minds at several points throughout the day. Every morsel is treasured. It's another level of anxiety that should not exist; we already have enough going on just getting through life, a lack of food variety and quantity should not be on that list. There's enough to go around. Yet millions face this challenge every day of their lives.

Add on top of this the other challenges those living in the slums or in extreme conditions face already, and we just cannot imagine. I cannot fathom.

My visits to the slums of Manila, Kathmandu, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kampala, and Yangon have generally been in good weather conditions. But on a few occasions I've been caught in rainstorms in these slum colonies. Whenever this happens, I'm blessed by the hospitality of these humble people who always let me seek shelter in their small makeshift homes while I wait for the storm to pass. They almost always start making tea for me, which I graciously accept, humbled that these who have next to nothing are doing their best to be hospitible to a complete stranger.

The challenge of keeping their homes intact during the rainstorms, keeping water from leaking through the ramshackle rooftops, and dealing with the infestation of mosquitos and snakes that are prevelant in such conditions, not to mention the ecological disaster resulting from the lack of trash collection, it's absolutely overwhelming for us to imagine what that reality must be like. Not to mention: no running water, no electricity, no toilets, no security.

Some of these common scenes I've witnessed and documented follow here.

Kampala, Uganda:

A woman prepares rice on a makeshift stove; her cooking fuel seen behind her

Manila, Philippines: 

Children actually work at the base of this landfill mountain seeking recyclables

Kathmandu, Nepal: 

I was able to gift this girl with a portrait I had taken on my previous visit

Kolkata, India: 

As you can see, conditions are deplorable and many wells are contaminated

Back to the positive news... I'm so very grateful for the two new hearts on our "Heart-Chart" that were sponsored today: a $24/mo heart, and a $48/mo heart. Thank you! This means we are up to 8 hearts sponsored on my quest to find 50 new heart sponsors! The first part of the Heart-Chart is really looking more and more red (filled with our collective team's love!) every day:

For those of you just tuning in, I'll recap what I'm trying to achieve with the "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. Thus, long-term, they're the most powerful.

What I need next to stay on track for my goal. For day seven, I need two people to sponsor the $28/mo and $29/mo hearts on our "Heart-Chart"— this means you're willing to make a small monthly sacrifice to help ensure that the following merciful actions are fully funded each month. 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. My favorite was the boiled-egg-topped bean-and-rice tostadas for dinner! Thank you for all of your encouragement, I am grateful for your support during this challenge.

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, Amazon.com 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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