Monday, May 12, 2014

Eating in the Third World

Last week I read a blog post by Pierre Ferrari, CEO of Heifer International. He wrote to share his experience of eating for one day below the poverty line ($1.50). I thought this would be a fantastic way to raise my awareness of third-world eating, and decided to do this for one week. I estimate that with all the meals, snacks, drinks, and eating out that I do, I spend between $5 and $10 a day for my food. This is a small bit I can pass on to help solve world hunger.

I've been so impressed by the work of organizations like Heifer, International. The idea behind this program is to donate livestock, seeds, and training to help people cultivate their own food. One of the principles of the program is called Passing on the Gift. For each livestock gift, for example, families agree to pass on the offspring of that animal to another person in need. In some places, 22 generations of Heifer animals can be traced. On average, Passing on the Gift lasts for at least nine generations, no matter the project.

If I eat this way for one week and donate the money I save, I can give the gift of a flock of chickens to a family in need. My $20 donation can buy a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks, along with the training that will empower this family not only to provide for themselves, but to help others. Chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available scraps. This allows families to make money from the birds without spending much, and since a good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year, this inexpensive gift provides a steady source of nutrition and income.

Sometimes the many challenges that exist in this world seem so overwhelming, and since I have my own difficulties, it's hard to see a way to be involved or to help. So I'm just thrilled that I can try this little experiment this week, to feel some solidarity with people all over the world who are struggling, and to be a part of ending world hunger in just a small way.

I'll be writing about what I'm eating and how this challenge changes my life for good every day this week. Stay tuned!

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