To better understand the severe poverty and unspeakable living conditions Nicaraguans endure every day, a couple from California decided last June to move there and live off $2 a day like 80 percent of Nicaragua does.
That’s $2 per day for everything from food to drinks and clothing to health care and shelter.
With the average cost of a plate of food in Nicaragua at $2.50, the couple gave up after just five days, saying they could no longer keep up their energy level on the meager amount of food that much money provided. They documented the experience on a blog at lifeoutofthebox.com.
“In order for us to be as productive as we always are, we had to get more food,” the couple wrote. “It was hard to even think on the last day of the experiment and that was the final straw.”
The couple later called it a “life changing experiment.”
“Our perspective on life was completely altered once we experienced life in survival mode,” they wrote.
Yet survival mode is precisely how Nicaraguans live every day. Hunger is rampant in the country. It is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere; only Haiti has worse poverty.
Nearly 50 percent (just over 5 million people) of the population exists on just $1 a day and a third of the population still has no access to sustainable sources of drinking water.
Schroon Lake’s Clare Whitney and Elizabethtown’s Brody Hooper know first-hand how citizens of Nicaragua struggle to obtain the things so many Americans take for granted.
Working with the Plattsburgh-based North Country Mission of Hope, the two high school seniors have made it their objective to raise awareness and money to provide food, schooling and shelter to Nicaraguans.
Clare and Brody comprise the student portion of the North Country Mission of Hope leadership board. Clare has twice been to Nicaragua and plans to go again in July. Brody was there a week ago.