The first thing I can say about my experience this week is, it absolutely did not happen as I expected. Of course, I wasn’t expecting to get ill on Day 2 and lose my appetite such that I lived way, way below the line simply because I couldn’t manage even the thought of eating. Even this morning, feeling quite a bit better, I only had a few bites of plain (but cooked) potato because that’s all that I had available that sounded appetizing.
But then, since I actually came $0.58 under budget, I went this afternoon and bought another banana and a packet of ramen noodles, which I don’t think I’ve eaten in years, but they sounded really good. I ate the banana in the car on the way back home, my brain and body both going, “YES, PLEASE.” The ramen I’m going to save for later. (Not much later, though.)
As I said before, it’s been surreal. All this week, and including today, I felt like I could just grit my teeth and get through it because I knew it would come to an end. But I don’t know how I would live like this day to day, without that hope and optimism.
In the interview with the Dispatch, she asked me what I wanted to see happen from my efforts. I can’t remember my exact words (and I’m sure they weren’t as articulate as I’d like, because I was talking out loud instead of writing), but I did express a wish to make my peers more grateful for what they have, and also to play some tiny part in giving hope to someone who does live below the line. I hope, because of my efforts and fundraising, someone can benefit through the work of Opportunity International, and they can also experience seeing a light at the end of the tunnel–granted, a much, much longer and darker tunnel than the one I’ve been walking through this week.
(Oh, speaking of my Below the Line interview with the Dispatch…I’m glad she included my most brilliant quote.)
And I must add, out of a goal of $200, I raised $450 for Opportunity International, thanks to all the wonderful, generous, incredible donors who gave to this project! I don’t know everyone who donated, since some of them were anonymous, but if you’re one of them and you’re reading this right now, know that I appreciate every penny.
Another thing I’ve learned this week is that my pastor was right in his sermon a few months ago about giving. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The sermon pointed out that, since your treasure leads your heart, you should give your treasure (which might be money, but might also be your time, energy, etc.) to things you want to care about. If you want to care about this or that cause, donate money, time, or something else you value to that cause. That’s what’s happened to me this week, I think, to an extent. Honestly, I never believed that I had the compassion or the fortitude to do something like this. And I had never given much thought to global poverty, and even though I like to think of myself as a grateful person, I was not so aware of my own privilege and blessings until this week. Since doing this, I hope I keep it in mind more often, and I hope to stay up-to-date with Opportunity International and watch the work they’re doing and keep contributing.
I’m glad I did this. I’d do it again.