Saturday, December 3, 2011

Can you survive on just $2 for 1 day?

Spend some time around us at "The Charis Project headquarters", a grand name for what is really a few rooms at the back of our house containing a white board, a few computers, and a pile of other stuff with varying degrees of actual usefulness, and you will eventually hear a conversation about poverty statistics. What does it really mean that many in the world live on less than a dollar a day?

We didn't get to where we are with out thinking things through you see. So we ponder. Does that statistic adjust for buying power? Does it include the food they grow themselves. If a subsistence farmer lives on less than a dollar a day but grows everything he needs to eat then is the comparison useful or not?

I'm not going to answer those questions, by the way, they can be saved for later. What I want to know is do you think you could live on less than $2/day?

When Levi Benkert of Bringlove.in and the $2 day challenge first first told me about it I did a bit of mental math. The first thing I thought was, "We pay $50/day just for our house. How would we do it without sleeping outside somewhere?" (Which, by the way, would be an awesome challenge, but not as easily  accessible for  a lot of people.)

But then he told me that the challenge was much more simple. Could you eat, for a whole day, on just $2?

Could you eat, for one day, on double what many people around the world live on every day?

What would that look like?

Sometimes it takes something a little extreme to really wake us up, and give us the empathy we need to make a difference somewhere.

Maybe it takes being hungry for a day. 

How much could you accomplish if you were hungry all. the. time? How would your kids do in school when their bellies growled louder than the teachers words? What if more than 75% of what you make in a month just went to feeding your family?

Would you ever find a way out?

We're all about empowering communities and creating innovative solutions to entrenched difficulties here at The Charis Project. We can, because as busy as we are, we still have the education, and necessary nutrition, and leisure time to be able to think things up.

On December 8th we're going to take the challenge and eat for only $2, all day, because the first step to solving a problem is understanding a problem, and the first step to loving our neighbor is to be willing to know what it's like to be our neighbor in the first place.

And maybe, when we're feeling a bit peckish and dreaming of cheeseburgers we'll come a little closer to becoming the change we want to see in the world. At the very least, we'l be less complacent than we were the day before.

Join us! Take the challenge too.