For today’s 2$ we are going to try and be a bit more wise, we saw that spending our cash on junk food did not get us anywhere, so what if we were to buy a little meat….

I am going to go off the prices for these products here in Ethiopia because this country represents many poor who live at or below the 2$ level each day. Today imagine with me that you are the head of household of a small Ethiopian family and that this home in the picture above is where you live. Your rent is 400 Birr $(23.39) per month and so to have 34 Birr ($2) remaining to spend on food you need to earn a salary of 1,420 Birr per month. Meaning that you are an upper class citizen in Ethiopia, more than 85% (conservative estimate) of the country lives on less than you do. Let’s try and keep that in mind while we explore what live is like at this level.

So let’s get started, let’s put ourselves into one families shoes and see what we can pull together to feed our family today.

What if we were to try and purchase some meat today?  A small live chicken costs 90 Birr at the local market, which translates to $5.26 in US Dollars.  Clearly chicken is above our price range. What about beef?   One Kilo costs 60 Birr, or $3.50.  This might be a bit more affordable if we were to purchase less, if we were to purchase 200 Grams (.44 Pounds) of ground beef, it would cost .70 Cents in US Dollars.

So now we have $1.30 remaining to purchase something else. Let’s try to see what we can get in the vegetable market.

A Kilo of carrots costs 16 Birr (Or .93 Cents in USD), so if we were to purchase just a few of those carrots we would need .30 cents, leaving us with 1 Dollar to spare.

Now if we want to add some rice in there we might just be able to get a full meal together. Rice costs 7.5 Birr for three cups, or .45 Cents in USD. So if we want to add some rice in today we are going to be left with .65 cents.

One bundle of wood to cook our meat and rice costs 5 Birr or .29 Cents in USD. Leaving us with .36 cents.

Remember though we have no running water in our little mud hut so unless we want to drink something that will make us sick we need to purchase a small bottle of water to drink. A one liter bottle runs 7 Birr and so if we want to get one we are going to be set back another .40 cents.  But we don’t have this much money left and so we decide that we are going to have to drink the tap water and the our chances with getting sick.

We take the remaining funds and purchase one mango, hoping to round out the day with a little fruit to keep us healthy.  By the looks of our menu today we are going to need all the nutrition we can get.

All in all our small family is going to be going to bed with a little food in their stomachs and that is a good thing, let’s hope that we are able to do this again tomorrow and that food prices stop climbing like they have been.  Last year in Ethiopia food prices rose nearly 50% and today they are still climbing, it’s hurting the budget in a bad way, and if something does not give your kids are going to go from bad to worse.

Take a moment to look over the days worth of food and think about feeding your family of four for three meals, how much food is on each plate? How do you feel when you put this in front of your child?

How about your family? What are you planning to eat on Thursday?  Have you thought about how you are going to feed your family for 2$?