I'm going to skip the explanation/excuses for why I haven't posted in months, because none of them are interesting or valid, so I'm sparing myself the wasted energy and you the wasted time. Besides, I'm pretty sure I've done away with any readers I may have once had by smothering any hope that I would post on this blog again.
So I've been participating in a little experiment over the last week, and will attempt to continue this experiment over the next three weeks. One of Andy's fellow teachers challenged us (and everyone else he has any influence with) to cut back significantly on our food allowance, with a two-fold purpose in mind. The most forthright purpose is to donate the money we didn't spend on ourselves to the Heifer International organization, which gives families a sustainable gift (usually an animal) as a means of becoming more self-reliant. The less measurable second intent of this project is to realize what it means to survive on $1/day, as much of the world does.
A few weeks ago, before we had heard about this idea, something reminded me of one my favorite family quotes. I think Daniel was about 3 when he used to say this, and the frankness of it always made us laugh. It always applied to food, and it was usually in reference to something favorite, like candy. My mom would give him what she deemed the appropriate amount, and he would more often than not contest that she hadn't given him enough and ask for more. Not one to be swayed by begging, my mom would firmly explain that she had given him what she thought he needed - enough. At this point, he would become quite emotional and say "I know mom, but I want too much!" This had the effect of laughter on anyone in the near vicinity, though it didn't seem to work on my mom. I'm not sure what brought this memory back to me, but it hasn't really left my mind since then. There have been several times that I consciously tell myself I need something, like new sandals, or a cute summery shirt, or a tall cup of caffeinated goodness. But really, I don't need much of anything. I know this, and I sometimes comfort myself by just knowing this and buying it anyway. But this past week, I realized I have completely lost touch with what I need.
I haven't exactly figured out what it is I really do need to survive, and since I live in America, I am virtually guaranteed that I will never have to find out. But I have nailed down for a fact that I consistently want more than enough, in ways that go far beyond the bounds of food and basic necessities of life.
On a more basic level, I've also figured out that for $1/day, rice and beans are your very good friends.