Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 3- $1 a day

About a year ago I read an article in the paper about how many Haitian people are so poor and hungry that they make dirt cakes out of dirt, lard, and salt, and then bake them in the sun and eat them. This made a huge impression on me. You won't hear me complaining- either in person or on this blog-- about having to eat Top Ramen or beans and rice for 40 days, because I'm always going to think of those dirt cakes.

And ever since I read that article I've been thinking about tensions.
The tension between wanting a quality of life that costs a pretty penny in the Bay Area where I live and knowing that others in distant countries are scrambling for one meal a day.
The tension between desiring to generously give all my money away and needing to pay my living expenses.
The tension between cultivating a life of simplicity and living in consumeristic America.
The tension between knowing other humans are starving and believing that food is for my sustenance as well as for my pleasure.

I didn't happen to draw the card that landed me in Haiti, baking dirt cakes in the sun. I was put in this place in this time in this economic status for a reason. I wouldn't say I feel guilty about what I have, but I would say that I'm in a state of mental unrest about these issues all the time. I'm currently experimenting with how little I can live on, but when my 40 days are over what will I feel called to do on a permanent basis?


  1. Hi Melanie... WOW, I'm in awe. Can't wait to read your blog each day. You've certainly made me stop and think.

  2. Tracy- thanks for reading. I'm thankful to have someone else interact with the material and give it some thought. Perhaps you will form your own experiment that I can read about?

  3. I'm pondering, but I think I'm a way off yet. Can still simplify along the way.

    Perhaps we can get together after this?

  4. I too regularly experience the "mental unrest" you describe. I appreciate you putting into words the struggle in my mind. I am delighted to see you writing Mel!