Cater Prague’s 4 on 44 Challenge 2016

From Monday to Thursday last week, five brave young men and women welcomed the challenge to live off of 44kc for four days. The members of the ISP group, known as Cater Prague, were allowed to spend up to 44kc for food each day and wrote reflections about their experience. The aim of the challenge is to experience how it feels to have very little to spend on their food, mimicking the life of the millions of homeless people that live on the streets of Prague. A few of the participators were approached and were asked about their experience.

Amelia Wilkinson, Grade 11 student writes about her experience.
To start off my 4×44 challenge, I decided to shop in good old Tesco’s. After scanning the aisles for what felt like ages, I was baffled. How was I going to afford three full, balanced meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for 44 kc? After a lot of awkward price checking, I grabbed what seemed like an affordable meal.

Day 1
My meal for Monday ended up costing 42 kc and consisted of:

  • a (20 kc) loaf of bread
  • a (9 kc) packet of popped popcorn
  • a (6 kc) packet of cream cheese
  • a (7 kc) chocolate bar.

What a balanced and healthy choice of food!

For breakfast, I had toast and cream cheese, which tasted pretty normal actually. I realized that I’d have to skip out on my morning tea, and I had to repeatedly stop myself from grabbing things from the fridge.

Lunchtime was horrible. I had untoasted bread and cream cheese, and quite frankly I was already feeling sick of it. I had some popcorn at the side, though.

I snacked on popcorn and my chocolate bar until dinnertime.

I couldn’t stand the idea of having plain bread and cream cheese again, so I decided to get creative and melt the cheese on the bread with popcorn sprinkled on top. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I’m never doing that again. I now know what not to buy for Day2.

Day 2
My shopping for the second day summed up to 42kc and consisted of:

  • a (10 kc) Cinnamon bun
  • a (2 kc) bread roll
  • a (17 kc) soup
  • a (7 kc) donut
  • a (7 kc) packet of noodles

Naturally, not being fluent in Czech meant that I got a bit lost in translation and bought some meat-flavoured food. This makes me wonder why meat seems to be so cheap, seeing as it’s so expensive to maintain?

I felt quite fatigued today, because I haven’t eaten anything particularly healthy or energy providing in two days. Unfortunately, I really disliked like the soup I bought for lunch, so I hardly had any of it. Being homeless and not liking the food you’ve bought or are provided with must be difficult. While scanning the ingredients of both my soup and noodle packets, I noticed the large quantity of unknown chemicals within the food – which once again makes me feel like eating this every day is far from healthy.

Day 3
My shopping for the third day summed up to 40kc and consisted of:

  • a (20 kc) carton of eggs
  • a (4 kc) break roll
  • a (10 kc) croissant
  • a (6 kc) bag of plums

I attempted to focus on finding more energy-providing food, such as fruit and eggs. Although my food was ‘healthier’ today, because I only had 44 kc, I couldn’t buy large quantities of it. As a result, I’m really hungry right now.

Thankfully, I can go back to a warm home with my grumbling stomach rather than the cold streets or a homeless shelter. Also, I’ve been thinking that perhaps some of the homeless don’t have the utensils to make certain (cheap) foods such as scrambled eggs – which poses as yet another problem for them along with fatigue, hunger, and unemployment.

Day 4
My shopping list for the fourth day summed up to 44kc and consisted of:

  • a (6kc) bread roll
  • a (7kc) pack of noodles
  • a (11 kc) chocolate bar
  • a (6 kc) bunch of bananas
  • a (12 kc) donut

The food that one can afford often times is cheaply made or has chemicals in it. I’ve felt very tired during the past four days due to the lack of food I’ve been able to afford and the quality of it, as well. Tiredness equals not a lot of concentration in class. Once again, it really puts things into perspective. Food is such an important, vital part of our wellbeing and not having the right food really affects our health. I did this challenge to raise awareness about the challenges that homeless people face and perhaps come to understand some of them, and I can now say that I recognize the difficulty of not having enough money for healthy food. I know that tomorrow I’ll be able to eat whatever I want again, but that’s not the case for a homeless person: this is everyday for them and now I understand how drastic that is.

I can’t imagine having this little amount of unhealthy food every day. All in all, it’s been exceedingly difficult to find healthy and balanced food for 44 kc. It really puts things into perspective.

Danique Diks, Grade 11 speaks about her experience in the 4 on 44 challenge.

Day 1
My shopping list for day one cost 39.80kc and consisted of:

  • 4 (3.80kc) carrots
  • 2 (3.40kc) bread rolls
  • a (11.50kc) packet of rice cakes
  • 2 (12.50kc) instant ramen packages
  • a (8.90kc) chocolate yoghurt

I started off today pretty confident, and I think overall I did pretty alright for the first day. In regards to what I ate throughout the day; for breakfast I had two rice cakes, for lunch I had instant ramen and alongside I had a piece of bread and a carrot (raw), for an afternoon snack I had some yoghurt, and lastly for dinner I had instant ramen once again, but this time with sliced carrots (steamed) as a bit of a topping and again a piece of bread alongside.

Lunch and dinner were pretty filling, although breakfast wasn’t, so I’ll need to figure out something else for tomorrow. I also felt extremely exhausted throughout the day–probably because of all the carbohydrates I had consumed.

Day 2
My shopping list for day two cost 43.40kc consisted of:

  • 4 (22kc) bananas
  • a (11.90kc) package of quick cook rice
  • a (6.10kc) instant ramen package
  • 2 (3.40kc) bread rolls

Today I had a pretty hard time staying awake in the morning, but for the rest I felt pretty ok. For breakfast I had two rice cakes (leftover) with one banana, for lunch I had rice with steamed carrots (carrots: leftover) and a piece of bread, and for dinner I had instant ramen with rice and steamed carrots. I felt pretty full after dinner, but I’m finding that I am getting tired earlier than usual.

Day 3
My shopping list for day two cost 43.60kc consisted of:

  • a (14.90kc) packet of sliced ham
  • a (14.90kc) box of cherry tomatoes
  • a (5.90kc) instant ramen package
  • a (7.90kc) packet of mini ‘muesli’ cookies

Today I felt less tired than I did yesterday, however I did have a few headaches and at times I felt like I wasn’t paying quite a lot of attention in class.

For breakfast I had two rice cakes with one banana, for lunch I had bread with slices of ham and cherry tomatoes, as a snack I had this packet of mini cookies, and for dinner I had a bowl of rice with slices of ham and to the side I had a bowl of instant ramen.

I actually felt full after today’s dinner, which was pretty good.

Day 4
My shopping list for day four summed up to 41.30 kc and consisted of:

  • a (6.10 kc) pack of instant ram
  • 2 (3.80 kc) bread rolls
  • a (11.90 kc) banana flavored cereal bar
  • a (19.50 kc) can of peas

Today was actually the least challenging day of all, if I have to be completely honest. I had quite a bit of leftover food, and so when I went out to buy food for today I actually didn’t buy as much ‘necessities’ (bread, ramen, etc) and I was able to buy a snack. For breakfast, I had 2 rice cakes with 1 banana, for lunch I had bread with 2 slices of ham and cherry tomatoes, as an afternoon snack I had this banana flavored cereal bar, and then for dinner I had rice with steamed carrots, peas, and instant ramen. I also felt less hungry today, most likely because I had more food in stock and my body had gotten used to my temporarily new eating schedule and food.

Henry Neuman, Grade 10, gives his perspective of the 4 on 44 Challenge.

 Day 1
My shopping list for the day cost 42kc and consisted of:

  • 7 (11.9kc) rohliks
  • 3 (29.7kc) packs of ham

Today I felt fine for most of the day.

Day 2
My shopping list for the day cost 42kc and consisted of:

  • 7 (11.90kc) rohliks
  • 3 (29.70kc) packs of ham

Today I felt really terrible. I was tired and had a stomach ache for a part of the day. I was really tired of eating the same food for every single meal of the day.

Day 3
My shopping list for the day cost 43kc and consisted of:

  • a (14.90kc) packet of biscuits
  • 3 (5.10kc) rohliks
  • 1 (9.90kc) packet of ham
  • 2 (12kc) packets of non flavored ramen noodles

I feel a little bit better today because it seems like my body is getting used to eating so little, however, I am still feeling quite tired.

Day 4
My shopping list for the final day cost 31.60 kc and consisted of:

  • 2 (9.90kc) packets of ham
  • 4 (6.80kc) rohliks
  • a (14.90kc) packet of hazelnut flavored wafers

I’m feeling very tired and I’m tired of eating basically the same food four days in a row.

Lauren Looney, Grade 11, gives her perspective of the 4 on 44 Challenge.

Day 1
My shopping list for the day consisted of:

  • Ham
  • Two bread rolls
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 carrots

I found day one to be the hardest, since I was used to eating more food than the amount that I had bought. I also found it hard to get the most of out my 44 crowns. I think even though I had done the 4 on 44 challenge before the organization it takes to make sure you get as much food as possible from that 44 crowns is hard to do. Overall, it was an okay day and wasn’t too much to handle.

Day 2
My shopping list for the day consisted of:

  • A bag of pasta
  • 3 bananas
  • A bread roll
  • 2 carrots

Day two was much better than day one, I was able to go the store before hand so buy my food and could cook my pasta the night before. The pasta was relatively cheap for how much there was. The pasta cost around 22 crowns and I ended up only using half of the bag for lunch and dinner so I was able to transfer the rest for the next day. Overall, the day went fine, I was just a little tired and lacking energy.

Day 3
My shopping list for the day consisted of:

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 apples
  • a bag of popcorn
  • 2 rolls

Day three went well, I was able to use the pasta from the day before for 2 more meals, that way I could buy more food. Apples were more expensive than I had thought though not too out of reach. I was able to find a bag of popcorn that was pretty cheap, I wanted to buy peanuts or something more substantial but they were too expensive. A big thing I learned by doing this is that meat or protein in general is really hard to come by when you have this little amount of money. You could go to a fast food restaurant and buy a cheap hamburger but 44 crowns could probably only get you one meal. Overall, the day was good and I didn’t feel too hungry, but still low on energy.

Day 4
My shopping list for the day consisted of:

  • pack of ham
  • 2 rolls
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 carrots

The final day I went back to what I had previously bought for the first day since I didn’t want to buy more pasta that I probably wouldn’t use after this challenge. So I bought enough food for one day. I think overall this is a really eye-opening experience and really helps your view on how hard it is to be homeless or even to just have a tight budget. I think that it is a good challenge to make people aware and to help people realize what it takes for the homeless to survive in a world that doesn’t really cater to people who only have 44 crowns. Overall, I am pleased by how much money we raised and how this project will help a lot of people.

© Cater Prague – The Falcon Post