I love learning. I love building my mind. Although I try to not be a perfectionist, I do desire to be as close to the best that I can be as possible. That’s why I’m always trying to grow, learn and improve. I believe in working smarter, not harder and what better way to do that to learn new things? I don’t have a degree in International Development, Business, Children’s Work or Sociology, (my degree is in Chemistry), but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be equipped properly. Here are 5 books that I’ve read in the past year that have really helped form and guide what I do in Kenya. They are some super helpful and suggested reading for missionaries, development workers or other people working with the poor.
Poverty alleviation is one of my main passions and it’s also one of the main things I’m working on here in Kisii Kenya. As the main activity in fighting poverty I’m training and mentoring small entrepreneurs with skills to improve their businesses, increase their profits and ultimately escape poverty.
Well. I finished my 14 days of poverty: living on 2$ a day. I originally thought I would/could blog during that time, but it just didn’t work out. But here I am. And here’s the update. (When I say 1$, I’m also saying 100 Kenyan Shillings, usually that’s pretty close to the exchange rate.) Read the intro to this experiment here.
Two Dollars a Day for 2 Weeks
Things I learned about while living on 2 dollars a day:
- You don’t get to have your comforting foods
- You’ll be staying home more because you can’t afford the transport
- It’s hard to have a social life because you can’t pay for a motorcycle, you can’t go out to eat/drink and you don’t have enough food at home to entertain
- Keep the lights out when you can: because you can’t afford all that much electricity
- You better not have to go to the doctor, because that will definitely put you over budget
- I finally get why people don’t buy the larger supply and save the money per weight: because they just don’t have the money. Period.
There were things that I would really have liked to do during this period, but I just couldn’t afford it. Even if I wouldn’t spend any money at this place I wanted to go to, I couldn’t even afford the 1-2$ transport to get there and back.
In a way I feel like a pretentious, privleged fool for doing this. In another way, I feel like I have to.
It’s recommended, in general, for single, independent missionaries to live on $1,500 as a minimum monthly salary. That would be $50 per day!!! Last year, I spent an average of $1,119/ month. That’s 37$ a day. Granted, a lot of that went to rent, insurance and other things that I felt were IMPORTANT. But I felt and even FEEL guilty about it. Especially because my income (from donations and web work for a cause) was only half that, and the rest just drained my savings almost to the bottom. For this year, my yearly fundraising goal is $8,500, which would be $708/month. I don’t think that will be super comfortable but I’m sacrificing. Anyways, back to the story.