I had the unpleasant experience this morning on the train of simultaneously feeling like I was about to throw up and also faint. I was trying to choke down my black tea (sorry Mum; I just don’t think I’ll ever enjoy it. Although that could be the fact that it was homebrand) and not gross out my fellow passengers with projected bodily fluids while getting kinda dizzy. Not a fun experience. I realised also, I’d forgotten to put my iPod on, so I was in silence for the entire ride. Not like me, I have to say.
I crawled out of bed this morning to my stewed fruit, reflecting that in Papua New Guinea, many people don’t have stoves, so wouldn’t actually be able to eat what I was eating. Boiling the kettle, which probably took much less time than it would in other areas, where they’d have to use a small fire. Maybe they had electricity, if they were lucky.
On my way from the train station to uni, and all I wanted to do was curl up in bed, then get up sometime in the late morning, make myself a cup of hot chocolate and curl up in bed with a good book and a cookie. Well, no, I couldn’t and that was a good thing. Apart from of course, not being able to afford it this week, I also have the amazing conundrum of a Western late adolescent – being able to go to uni but not wanting to be there.
I am so lucky. Here, I get to go to uni. It’s practically free – I don’t have to pay until I can afford to pay. I can study anything I want to study. I can talk about the Bible and debate ideas and proclaim my faith. I’m not in any danger of persecution. I don’t have to worry about people killing me or my family or friends because of what we believe.
I get to prolong my education, which increases my chances of a job that will provide for me and my family. Not only that, I can study for the sake of studying. I don’t have to worry at this stage about skills promotion or finding a job, because a) I already have one, and it provides for my need;s b) the government gives me money when I am in need; c) there are jobs abounding for people who didn’t go to university and d) I don’t have a family to worry about, people I have to provide for. I just have to look after myself.
To this end, I ask that you give some of your undoubtedly hard-earned money (or if not, some that you get from the government) to this cause. To letting people who are less fortunate than I (there but for what I don’t know, not God’s grace because they have that too – there go I. And there goes Jesus.) have an education that will allow them to get out of a cycle of poverty. To a system that gives life, not one that leads to violence, death and destruction.
Here is where the money goes. Thanks for coming along with me on this journey.
Money makes the world go round. Or so they say.
(Who is this ‘they’, anyway? ‘They’ seem to say a lot of things. Most of it negative. Anyway, I digress.)
I hate money. At the same time, I love money. It all depends on how much of it you have, I suppose. When you’re in debt and scraping by, it mocks you and spits in your face, letting you scoop up the crumbs from its table. When you’re rolling in it, you sit at that table – but money still mocks, because it knows you’re eating empty hope. If you rely on it, it will let you down. If you love it, you spiral into loneliness and deceit. If you hate it, you still have to use it, because money kinda does make things happen. Food, for instance. A roof over your head, fuel in your car, textbooks, transport, entertainment.
Some people have no money. Some people live on less than $2 a day, and that’s for everything. Food, housing, medical, education, transport, water – basic needs. On less than $2 a day.
I’m in the top 14% of the world’s richest. Top 14%, and I’m a uni student scraping by. How does this compare? So I decided to live on less than $2 a day for my food for a week. And you know me by now. You know I love me some food. I’m doing it to raise money for critical anti-poverty measures and to raise awareness in one of the richest countries in the world. If you want to donate, click here. If not, I completely understand. After all, there are so many good causes out there.
Don’t worry over money. Think about it, budget, plan and save, but don’t worry about it. Because it will all be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. Something always happens, and as the saying goes, the best things in life are free. Smiles, laughter, hugs and friendship. Seek out God, and he will answer – for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Place your treasure where your heart will be safe – in God’s loving embrace.