Living on Less: Day 3 (Final)

Final budget: 47.50 PHP (additional 1.50 PHP from yesterday’s budget)

With a slightly bigger budget and finding that gem of bakery for the budget-limited and hungry, I felt more at ease that I’ll finish this day with ease. Here’s BREAKFAST:

  • Kopiko instant coffee (6.00)
  • 1/2 of local bread (2.50)
  • Lucky Me pancit canton (9.00)

See how I splurged with the Lucky Me there? Cheeky, huh? As I’ve said before, I’m not a heavy breakfast eater, so usually a piece of bread and coffee is fine. I usually satisfy what’s missing in my stomach with the thoughts of a full, hearty meal over lunch.

However, of course, lunch has been different these past days. For today, I wasn’t able to eat half of my bread, so I included it in my LUNCH:

  • 1 1/2 of local bread (7.50)
  • boiled egg (5.00)

The overly sweet and generous size of the local bread was enough to fill my stomach for lunch. The boiled egg didn’t count that much, but as it still filled space, I think that was still considered over-eating. I had stomach ache the whole day while my medicine wasn’t effecting fast enough to help.

I realized through this challenge, that probably 80% of my eating habits is due to an impulse to eat, satisfy cravings, and giving in to the temptation of sweets and snacks that got me to this size. Rice hasn’t been on my diet since Wednesday, but not thinking about it helped in not craving for it. Not getting even a grain of it helped in suspending my impulse to eat a lot, too. That’s why, even though there were two kids who celebrated their birthdays and food was everywhere, I didn’t suffer. Some of my coworkers even urged me to postpone the challenge just to enjoy the feast.

To be honest, I’ve considered it, postponing. But what would be the point of my efforts so far? What’s the point of this whole experience? If I was really living below the poverty line, then I’d jump to the offer, but since I was doing it for experience, I should learn from it as much as I can without getting help that would elevate me from that line. I can always eat the food tomorrow when I’m allowed already, right?

And so with a slightly sensitive tummy, my day finished with a flourish and DINNER was served:

  • 1 pack of Fita crackers (6.00)
  • Lucky Me pancit canton (9.00)

At the end of the day, I have 2.50 PHP left in today’s budget. I’m not sure what’s worth that much nowadays except for candies and small packs of junk food you can buy in a sari-sari store. Anyway, I’ll keep it for another day.

So what did I learn from this experience? A lot. So much that I can’t even express how grateful I am that I went through this challenge. I feel like a changed person. I’ve opened myself to a part of life’s reality, and it has opened back it’s world wider to me.

I cannot promise that I would be joining volunteer associations actively now or would be raising my fist and voice to fight for the poor from now on, but I’d be taking small steps to help in my own small ways. I hope that I can also lend my skills as a teacher in the future, especially to those who needs it most.

More than the limited resources in food and things, what I feel sad for the most with poverty is it takes the chance of education to be part of a person’s life. Time and time again, it has been proven that people who are illiterate that are easiest to be manipulated by others who want to take advantage.

With education, we are taught to practice thinking and reflecting on our actions and opinions, as well as how it affect others and how others affect us. With education, people are more confident to stand up for themselves and what they know is right or wrong. I’m sure some would disagree as there are people who are educated, but do not feel confident of their skills. Well, I tell you, that’s just an issue of self-esteem. For some, they can’t be confident of something they don’t know about. It’s not even a matter of choice, but of consequence.

“I’m doing this every year,” I declared to my co-teacher over lunch like the act was as usual as going to the beach in summer.

Willing to suffer and sacrifice again for the sake of awareness and help? OH YEAH.

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