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Day 1- Wednesday
The day starts early morning, but I have to budget first, to make
sure I limit myself to $4 for the whole day. I listed the essentials of the day
which was food and transport to work. The cost of living is high therefore
finding a meal to eat thrice in a day is essential or at least twice. In the
morning I ate a quarter of the white loaf of bread left for school. Since the
full bread costs around $2.76, the quarter will cost me $0.69. I carried 1litre
of drinking water to school. The cost of 1 liter of water is $1.20. I was
driven to work which cost $0.50. During lunch eating at the cafeteria would
cost a lot more than I wanted to spend, so I just ate two bananas costing $0.51
and drunk the water throughout the day. I returned home on foot hence saved on
the $0.50 which I spent on supper. At dinner, we ate a whole sum meal, but it
fitted the remaining $1.10. I did not shower in the evening as I usually do.
The whole day has been about minimizing everything in my life. One
of the main challenges has been trying to reduce the amount of food I eat
because normally not even one meal fits into the $4.00 budget. Today it did due
to the calculation of everything I ate or did. I limited my interaction with
friends as they would influence me into spending and which was not an easy task.
The other thing was restraining myself from using the phone. It was tough not
chatting with my friends while the phone is there. It is quite tempting. As at
getting to bed, I do feel like my stomach is a bit empty due to the limited
amount of food I ate. I hope I will get some sleep to get me through the few
hours I will be sleeping.
Day 2- Thursday
Thursday started very early as I had decided to wake up early. The
empty stomach also contributed the early rising. I did sleep for some few
hours, but my stomach woke me up a little sooner. To make the poverty challenge
even more real, I did not take a shower, so I dressed up and had my breakfast.
Due to hunger pangs, I was feeling; I decided to eat the quarter bread and two
bananas at the same time. I carried my one liter of water to work and walked
all the way to avoid spending. I had also decided that I would not bring my
phone to school to avoid any temptation to use it. During lunchtime, as the
rest of the class was eating I spent my time going through some of the
assignments I gave my class yesterday to pass the time as I did not have
anything to eat. I only drunk water through the entire time. In the evening I
walked back home. By evening, I had only spent $2.40 which was a bit lower than
Wednesday’s $2.90. The remaining amount would get me substantial meal compared
The day started with a delicate moment where I could not be able
to stomach my hunger pangs in bed anymore. Despite having eaten a substantial
breakfast, it could not be enough to keep my stomach full the whole day since I
had to bear with my rumbling stomach at a certain point in the day. The
situation was embarrassing especially since it happened immediately when the
children in my class had resumed from lunch. A thought had occurred to me to
quit and just be grateful for the life I have but remembered there I someone
who lives that kind of life, and they do not have an option of quitting, it is
their life. By the time I arrived at home from work, I felt so exhausted and
just wanted to eat and sleep. Due to exhaustion, I could not go to sleep the
way I was without showering a whole two days, so I showered just before we ate
dinner. Missing on showers had made me self-cautions all through the day, and I
could not take it especially going to dinner with everyone on the table. It
would be quite uncomfortable for everyone in the family especially because I
did sweat on my way home from work. As much as I want to make the poverty
challenge real, going for days without shower will mean affecting people around
me due to the bad odor.
Day 3- Friday
Today I wasn’t woken up by my stomach since I ate yesternight
enough. Although I walked for a long distance, showering and sleeping earlier
helped. I woke up fresh, but I had to wear the same clothes I had worn for the
three days as homeless people do not get the luxury of washing their clothes on
a daily basis or having a change of clothes. I decided to adopt the same eating
plan as for Thursday’s as I was quite comfortable during the day only a few
stomach rumbles at lunchtime and a mild headache on my way home. I walked to
school and back, which was also tiresome but I was not going to shower today. I
ate a quarter bread, two bananas and carried one liter of water.
The challenge has made me adopt a new way of running things. One
was minimizing the amount of food I ate to necessity; the other is by secluding
myself from a huge circle of friends and colleagues, this is because, with a
large number of friends, you find yourself being influenced to do things that
will most probably result in spending money. Secluding myself is helping, but I
feel like by the end of the challenge I will have lost a lot of friends because
I seem to brush them off whenever they ask me to join them. I did not carry my
phone today too, and I found some calls I wasn’t there to receive and
unanswered text messages. My friend left a voice message, and she sounded quite
worried about me because I never miss calls. I had to call her and assure her everything
was okay. I also told her about the poverty challenge, and she understood the
whole situation. I feel the challenge is too much and cannot be compared to
things like being on a diet. It is very tasking. Today I had a mild headache
during the day, and it could be attributed to long hours without eating. I took
a painkiller to cool it down. I feel like giving up, but I think I am already
halfway, so I will take one day after the other as it comes.
Day 4- Saturday
Just like Thursday, I woke up feeling hungry, so the first thing I
did was eating breakfast. I was not planning to go anywhere, so I was going to
stay in and do things like laundry and clean the house. My breakfast was the
same as usual. A quarter bread and two bananas and by lunchtime I was already
hungry. I could not be able to stay without eating especially because most of
my family members were in so I ate lunch with the rest of them. After lunch, we
were to go to the mall, but I opted to stay home and sleep since I had woken up
early. I slept through most of the time until I got tired then I went for a
walk. At dinner time I was already feeling hungry, so I ate. The day cost me
more than $4.00 because I was unable to hold my hunger pangs at lunchtime.
It was a tough day because I succumbed to eating until I spent all
my $4.00 limit. I can only attribute this to staying at home with my family who
did not understand the essence of the challenge. I tried to resist food, but my
mom insisted that I should eat since the food is already available. She
challenged my stand by saying that instead of trying to live on the level of
poor people I should try and find ways of improving their lives since I am in a
better position to do so. We had a huge debate on this, but I finally gave in
by eating the lunch. Denying myself the opportunity to go with the rest of the
family to the mall was a tough decision. I also had difficulty in keeping
myself from watching when they were gone, so the only solution was sleeping or
walking outside which I did after I was tired of sleeping. I also know if I
continued to sleep, I will lack sleep at night which would make the night long.
With so much free time on the table, I found myself thinking so much about my
life the future I want for myself and what I can do presently to stop wasting
so much time on unimportant things like social media.
Day 5- Sunday
I slept soundly throughout the night and only woke up when my
alarm rang. Today I was ready to correct my slips and just go throughout the
day without any slips. I ate the bread and two bananas, dressed up and went to
church without showering and by foot. After service, I went back home by foot
to where I went through my teaching materials as I read through various books.
I just drunk water the entire time. I also slept for 2 hours during the day. By
the time it was supper, my stomach was rumbling loudly due to hunger. We
finally ate, and I went to sleep. I had achieved going through the entire day
within the $4.00 limit.
Being the last day of the challenge, I wanted to finish with a
win. I did not want to be left with the guilt that I had felt on Saturday for
failing to control myself. The challenge was to educate oneself on how one
living in poverty feels, but it felt more of a personal challenge especially on
testing my resilience. Due to lack of things like phones, televisions and the
luxurious items, one has a lot of time, and most of it is used for
conversations with people, and when you do not have people to talk to or the
energy to talk due to hunger, one spends it on thoughts. In my understanding,
this could be one of the reasons why people living in poverty may be depressed
or use their money on things like alcohol which act as antidepressants. I also
got to understand that they go through a lot of suffering as they are and it is
very unfair that people treat them the way they do as they have done nothing to
be poor. The poor need love and support from the rest of the world as they
already go through a lot every day. The only way they make their life easier is
by showing them love and not discriminating them due to their current state.
My expectations when going into the challenge.
Limiting my life to $4.00 per day was a task that seemed to be
impossible. I did not expect to make it work especially because people surround
me. I was expecting to fail at it because with the economic situation today the
cost of living is very high. I found out that it would be possible even if it
meant skipping out on a meal and deny yourself a lot of things. It is only
through prioritizing that living in $4.00 a day is possible.
Inconveniences and uncomfortableness of the experience
One of the main difficulty I had was waking up in the middle of
the night or very early because I was hungry. It is something I never
experience on regular days. The other thing was secluding myself for my
friends, colleagues, and my family. I was doing this to avoid the temptation of
spending and also because most of the time I was not showering. The later made
me self-conscience because I would not want to be in a situation where I made
the people around me uncomfortable due to my body odor. The other one is where
I had to walk all the way to and from work. It is not something I am used to
hence I got tired by the time I got home. The other one was having to spend
most of the time hungry. Food was one of the main issues in the whole
experience as I had to skip lunch so that I could have a substantial amount of
money to be able to afford a decent meal at night. Lastly, having to spend the
time alone without my phone was very uncomfortable. Usually, I could stay
comfortably alone but with the phone since a can chat with my friends. Shunning
myself away from my friends without phone calls and text messages made the
whole situation uncomfortable and lonely.
Life from the perspective of a poor person.
Comparison of my experience with someone who is poor.
My situation was bearable because I knew that I am not poor and I
know the situation will be ending in just a few days. It is challenging for
someone who lives in it for entire of his/her life. The reason I kept going is
the fact that I knew that it would only last for five days. Anyone who lives
through that on an average basis and does not have an escape from it is strong.
He/she does not deserve the discrimination they get. The poor people need to be
shown love and support for them to emerge as psychologically stable people. The
situation was depressing for me, and it only lasted five days, one cannot get a
clear understanding of how these people survive, and only God takes them
through every single day.
How I spent the money.
I spent the entire $4 on food. The economy of our country makes it
impossible for someone to save anything especially if you are living under the
poverty cut. Even when spending the entire amount on food, it is still not
enough to satisfy you completely even for a single day. The quality of food one
eats is not nutritious, and if one eats the meal for a long time, he/she may
become susceptible to diseases due to lack of vital nutrients in the body.
Spending money wisely
The question of whether the money was spent wisely is not easy to
answer. I put my health first, therefore, spent everything on food. Spending
money wisely means spending it on the things necessary and save. I spent all my
money but was unable to save because there was nothing to save. I tried to find
the cheapest things I can survive on with the little budget. Therefore, I did
spend it wisely.
The reaction of others and the impact it had on me.
How people treated me
There was a lot of pity in the eyes of those close to me. One of
them was my mom who did not see the essence of the whole situation. She could
not wait for the 5-day challenge to end. Her constant challenge on the
importance of the challenge, made me eat lunch on Saturday yet I was not
supposed to eat. Walking to and from work made some of my friends question the
financial situation I was in. It did not affect me since the challenge was
personal and not related to the real situation.
Things learned about poverty and how they affected me.
One of the thing that is clear is that the poor do not like being
in the situation they experience. Being poor is not a choice, and the situation
is terrible. One would do anything to get out of it. From this, I learned that
being kind to anyone poor does not cost anything it only gives the poor hope
that there is someone who could afford to smile back at them and support them
in this life. I had the belief that the poor are the way they are because they
do not want to change but from this experience, I learned that nobody wants to
be in that situation. In fact, they want to change, but the resources are limited
especially if you earn and spend all of it and nothing to spare.
A comparison of my findings to those of Mike Yankosi.
Mike’s findings were more comprehensive on the treatment of the
poor than mine because he went deep into living with the poor. My situation was
personal; I was only observing the difficulties I had when trying to adapt to
the situation. I had my family around me. Therefore, I did not live in poverty
and experiences it firsthand like Mike. It was more of an experiment than the
real-life situation. What both of the situations brought to light is the fact
that no poor person wants to remain poor. However, the situation does not allow
them to be free of the poverty. It is a difficult situation, and the only way
one gets through that is by having a strong circle of friends and family to
share the burden.
How poverty influences one’s self-image, attitude and social
Poverty lowers an individual’s self-confidence. One of the reasons
for this being the fact that one does not get the privilege to dress properly
and fit in with the rest of the society. As a result, one may decide to seclude
him/herself from the remainder of the world just to feel comfortable.
Self-seclusion affects relationships with other people hence one lives a lonely
life. The situation is not just physical but also affects the mental health of
the individual, with very few people to interact with the person may end up
being depressed hence the poor quality of life. As a result of lacking some of
the things others in the society have, one may question their existence in the
How my experience impacted on my self-image, attitude and social
I secluded myself from the rest of my friends as one step. The
reason why I took this step is that I was self-cautious due to not showering
and wearing the same clothes for more than two days. To make matters worse, I
am a lady, and I went all through with no make-up which to some extent helps
with self-confidence. I was cranky all the time and easily irritable especially
when I got hungry and as a result ruining any interactions with people around
How to be open-handed to the poor.
Being poor is not a choice hence one of the ways we can be
open-handed is by assisting the poor. We can be of help to them by sharing the
resources we have like food, clothes and if possible shelter. The basic needs
are important, and if a poor person gets assistance from those who have them,
they can be able to improve themselves. Another way of doing this is by showing
love to them despite their situation. Most people ignore the poor or the
homeless, but just a warm smile could make a difference in the person’s day.
Impact of the assignment.
From this assignment, I have learned not to take anything in life
for granted. There are those people born in poverty and they have grown to
become successful like Liz Murray. God gives everything, and it is not only for
me but the poor around me. God has given me whatever I have to serve Him
through touching the lives of the poor around me. Through the assignment, I
have learned the need to be kind to the poor as it makes their life easy.
Recommendation for future classes.
I would recommend the experience to future classes. One of the
reasons for this is because through the experience one can learn about the poor
first hand. It is one thing to be told and the other to experience it in your
life. Experiencing it gives one exposure to something if taught one would not
take it seriously.
Changes in the experience
The instructions to this experience are quite clear, and I would
not like anything to change. The situation was easy to learn as the budget was
tight and one had to make sound decisions to fit their needs to the budget.
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