My spouse works for an organization called Lutheran World Relief, who has community development projects in many countries, including Haiti. The entire staff decided to try to eat for a week under the average food budget in Haiti. The highly disputed number, after converting it to US dollars, was $34.33, about $5 a day. This seemed shockingly doable at first, although it became abundantly clear that I would be drinking only water and could not eat out. The project is not about succeeding primarily, but raising awareness about how other people live. Here are some of the things I thought about as the week went on:
–I got to pick which day I started and which day I stopped. Privilege. I knew it would end. It was not my perpetual existence.
–No wine, beer or even pop. The quickest shortcut was to drink water, which for me is free. That made me wonder, How is the water in Haiti? Is it drinkable? Is it overly privatized?
–I was offered free food all the time during my week. A student bought me a Jamba Juice one morning. On a teacher inservice day, the staff ate for free. Was accepting this food breaking the rules? Is free food a reality in Haiti? How are social services?