Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why NZ$2.25?

Hi all and thanks for your interest in my challenge.


Before I begin I will just explain a few things that will help this to make a little more sense.  Why NZ$2.25?


1.4 billion of the world's population live in poverty.  A loose definition is a lack of material possessions or money.  The "poverty line" is living entirely on an amount approximately equivalent to NZ$2.25 per day.  Not for food. but for everything.  Housing, medication, education, clothing, food, drink, transport... everything.  That figure is not calculated using an exchange rate but rather PPP (purchasing power parity), that is to say what you can buy in New Zealand for $2.25; so that's not very flash. 



Follow me here for a moment and ponder this.  NZ$2.25 is the PPP equivalent of US$1.25 or GBP1.00.  It is also the PPP equivalent of 32 Indian Rupees.  If you were to use the standard exchange rate, 32 Indian Rupees would buy just under NZ80c.  So this must be why your donation of a few dollars actually makes a difference.  $5 for seeds or $15 for chickens makes a great deal of difference in someone's life.


And finally this couple of dollars is not necessarily cash money, but rather the value of things.  So if someone living in poverty begs, barters, busks, breeds, borrows or grows (what's a b-word for grow?) the value of these items is included within the $2.25 not on top of it.  Remember, this is a cap, so it means that many of the 1.4 billion have LESS than this.  Mind boggling.


This challenge asks me to live on $11.25 worth of food for 5 days.  So I can still drive my car, live in my house, cook food in my oven.  In fact I have an appointment for a cut an colour on Sunday and I can assure you that Aragorn does not accept $2.25 for his skills and time.  David very kindly offered to lend me a bike so as not to drive during the week, but let's just take baby steps here.



So this leads me to my point.  The rules.  People have said to me "Can't you just get free food?  Like go to your Mum's for tea?".  No.  Not unless I count the value of that food into my $2.25 as per the above definition.  "Can't you just pick apples off the neighbour's tree?"  No.  Not unless I count the value of that food into my $2.25 as per the above definition.  "Could you set up busking outside the shopping centre and then use that money to buy takeaways?"  No.  Not unless I count the value of that food into my $2.25 as per the above definition. 


So how about taking a teaspoon of coffee from the cupboard and counting the value of that teaspoon only?  Well no.  If you were genuinely living in poverty could you go into a shop and buy a single teaspoon of coffee?  Trust me, in leading up to this challenge I have tried.  But alas, I shall be coffee-less, unless I decide to spend $2.45 on a 90g packet of home brand instant coffee.  And at this point I think I would rather have a kilo of questionable apples from the el-cheapo fruit shop.



So look forward to a hungry, tired and cranky Victoria.  But a grateful Victoria that I can go home and sleep in my warm dry bed.

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