Before I left the ship I was only able to get a few hundred dollars due to limited access to funds when we first arrived in South Africa. So I left the ship with about 400$ and started on my adventure. My original plan was to start a bank account in Ghana as soon as I arrived but as you all know my plans were changed. So instead I had to use some money to get my multiple entry Ghana visa and then also some cash to get around and eat.
After calculating out the rest of my funds and adding in travel costs while in Ghana and also the cost for my Liberian visa, I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room to exchange more money. So I decided to take on a personal challenge. Living on 1$ a day or in Togo 500CFA. Statistics show that, on average, people in Africa live on 2$ a day. I decided to take it a step up and only do 1$ a day (because that’s all I had left). *Side note: Alida was driving me half way to and from work which would have cost me about another 1$ a day so really I was at par.
Living on a dollar a day:
Sunday: At 535am I woke up, hungry (this is usual for me). It just so happen that on this particular morning it was myself and four little girls instead of the usual two. So I took one of the girls and we walked up the street and bought 3 small loaves of bread and 6 bananas. I got back to the house and divvied up the goods and ate my portion. The kids also enjoyed the leftovers from the night before. But at 6am I couldn’t stomach sardines, rice, and tomatoes so I passed. But the bread and banana was good for me.
Well by 10a my stomach was speaking to me but the other two girls told me that their mother was bringing lunch (or at least I think that is what they said). But soon it was 11, then 12, and then 1. Ugh I was hungry! The kids were running around, not phased by the delayed food, so I decided to take a little walk to help me forget my hunger.
I walked around the neighborhood and heard some church music to my left. A smile quickened across my face. Over the past year of being in Africa I always found the blaring speakers kind of obnoxious and painful at times. But this day as I walked around and her a familiar African gospel song I appreciated those loud ear piercing speakers because even those that are walking by cant help but notice the worship. For a few minutes my mind forgot about my hunger. As I continued my walk I thought about how God says that he will provide our daily bread. I laughed out loud since technically I already had my daily bread with some butter and jelly too. No sooner did I think this thought than a man and his wife, who was sitting under a tree, called out to me. “Bonjour, Comment &*$( 43$(*#(@)Q*( ‘….?” (That’s what it sounded like to me.) So I replied, “Bonjour, pardon, no Francais ” and continued on my way. But then as I passed the man asked “English?” I said, “Yes!” He replied, “I speak English small, small, but I will try. My friend just got back Nigeria and brought this for me. You, one?” Well guess what he pulled out but a BIG wonderful freshly baked loaf of bread! I quickly replied, “Yes I would love a piece.” I took a piece out of the bag and thanked the man and his wife and then thanked God for every single bite. Well by 2pm the neighbors of Alida called me over and had cooked lunch for all their family and me. Now I was MORE than full. Yahoo! Later that day I met up with some friends and they treated me to some goat on a stick (Vira you would have loved it) and then even had a little taste of ice cream (Dad you would have loved it). And then when I got home that night around 9p, they had some left over’s from lunch that they saved for me. Yahoo, again!
The next day was my first day of class for community health teaching. I had some cereal left over that I brought from the ship (yeah it was like a month old a little chewy but still pretty good). Off to class I went. At the 10a break they gave every some nice sweet tea but I couldn’t have it since they used water from the tap. Ugh! And then at lunchtime, I ate one of my three precious apples. Then after the training I took a taxi car to the big round about to wait for Alida. While there I saw a woman selling bread. I took the only money I had left and asked for some bread. She told me I didn’t have enough. I then asked for the “most petit pan” (smallest bread) and she said I still didn’t have enough. I thanked her and started to walk away. As I did she called me over and handed me some bread and took my chump change. Hehe! Yahoo! I thanked her and said in the local language “Mawu Ninyarwo” God Bless you. Then that night when I got home Alida made us a BIG hot meal. Yum!
The next two days were very similar: unexpected meals, gifts from people, invitations to dinner, or extra food not wanting to go to waste. In my little western mind I think I know what I need to survive but I am finding that God knows just how much I need for each day and he provides that amount and sometimes more. This morning I got some chocolate.
It has been amazing to me how God has provided every step of the way. Every need that I have had he has provided for. Or if I thought it was a need he showed me something new. “Give us this day our daily bread” has never meant so much to me until now.
A matter of belief
4 years ago