They aren't just for kids, part 2

The second class occurred at Fane's house and covered budgeting money. Four boys showed up, and I was thrilled. Their eye contact and requests to take notes made me think they were there to actually take away skills to apply. The class went something like this…

Welcome to Budgeting and Money 101

Question: How do you already manage your money?


Alright then. Here are 8 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Own Money 1. Have only one person manage the money or, if married, make sure there is adequate communication and only one decided system for managing money 2. Buy things that benefit your entire family or yourself in a good way (a.k.a. don't buy so much beer, cigarettes and other vices) 3. Put your money in a bank account (because cash is so easy to spend) 4. Keep your money, budget log, cash envelopes, etc. a private topic, out of eye sight, and in a secret place that is somewhat inaccessible to others 5. Research and plan ahead to find the best price for things like: food, school supplies, travel, generators, tools... 6. Conserve: try making things last for a long time (use moderation), such as: Bread - don't eat a whole loaf of bread yourself during tea Playing Cards - don't let the kids put the cards in water, lose any, put them in their mouths, or allow them to deteriorate faster than they should Sugar - don't use 3 tablespoons of sugar in your morning tea (or 3 cups in a small pitcher of juice) 7. Consider investing more in items that should last a long time (or could be profitable to you Examples: Nutritious foods such as oatmeal, whole grains, and wholemeal flour fill you up faster and don't cost much more than regular, simple carbs which take more for the same filling effect Well-made tools will last longer than a few projects

I asked the boys, if they only remember a few ideas from class, that they be the following:

To Prioritize (make a list of the most important things in your life in the correct order) Keep Track of Your Money (write down money earned as +$0.00 and money spent as -$0.00) Create a List of Wants and Needs (and be sure to meet your needs first)

Managing your Fijian dough
Managing your Fijian dough

After explaining these points, I gave them the power to continue their educations by acting on these points. If someone comes back to me and shows me their efforts in doing one or all three of the previous actions, I will give them envelopes and start them on a cash envelope system of managing their money (thanks to my brother's help in determining a management system for sporadic incomes):

For people with more sporadic income, you need to put the needs in a priority order…Giving, Rent, Utilities, Food, etc. This still uses the envelope system, but they put the money in the highest priority envelope until it has what it needs to satisfy the need. You then move down the priority list.

The third class happened at the home of the village "nurse" (she's had basic aid training and a government funded dispensary…we just found out she existed). I spoke about nutrition but first asked the attendees questions that would link to various health issues I could talk about. Once again, eye contact locked in interest and ears seemed perked toward me. Even though Abel fell unconscious as I talked about the disadvantages of white flour, my explanations were heard and thanked graciously.

The class went a-lil' something like the following...


Question: Let me know if this happens to you…

1. You can't stay out at the plantation for very long or work without a break because you're hungry and thirsty. You come in for a meal and your stomach feels incredibly empty. Your stomach is so empty and hungry that it hurts.

Heads all nod "yes."

If so, this means that you're not eating enough protein or you're only eating simple carbs. Carbs (or carbohydrates) give you energy. Flour, noodles, rice, cassava, etc. all are full of carbohydrates.

There are two types of carbs you should think about: ones that burn away quickly and ones that burn away slowly (relate this concept to using paper and using cardboard as kindling).

Here's an example: you eat pancakes one morning made with white wheat flour and then go to the plantation. The next day you have pancakes made with wholemeal flour and then go to the plantation. Do you know which day you will have more energy and will be able to work harder and longer? Day 2 with the wholemeal flour.

A similar experience: you eat pancakes one morning made with wholemeal flour and then go to the plantation. The next day you eat two eggs and a little rice or something else. Which day will you have more energy and last longer? The second day again. The protein is a step better than the slow burning carbs. Protein is crucial in your diets.

2. You want to be stronger and you train and lift weights a lot, but you never get bigger muscles. It takes a long time to get better in sports.

The men nod their heads "yes."

It's hard for your bodies to develop without protein. This is why many of you don't grow very tall or gain a lot of muscle. If you increase your protein and do the same amount of physical work in a day, you will see your muscles grow and an improvement in your athletics. You can't just eat enough energy to play a game. You need to eat the kind of food that satisfies and builds a hard-working body.

3. You get headaches on hot days or on most days.

Furrowed brows and heads nod "yes."

Every human being in the world, aside from very young kids, has a body that craves two liters of water per day. And for those that work their bodies hard or live in hot, humid, sweaty environments, those bodies require sometimes double the amount of water per day in order to remain healthy and strong.

When your body doesn't have enough water, it gets dehydrated. This means cells in your body shrink like a balloon that loses air. Your brain is mostly water, and when it shrinks, it's painful. Giving your brain the water it needs will almost always cure a headache.

4. You or your children get toothaches.

Heads nod "yes," and the nurse mouths the "tisk tisk" sound (The nurse and I discussed this topic earlier in the week, and she mentioned the irony in giving children loads of sweets and reprimanding them for having teeth problems).

Do you also give your children Bongo snacks (like cheetos) and lollies (candy) when you come back from grocery shopping? Do they always ask for money for mango skins (preserved fruit with loads of sugar)? Do you prepare moli juice (orange juice) with a couple cups of sugar? Do you make sure your child always has a clean, working toothbrush and encourage the brushing of teeth daily?

The last question is the only one that summons a "no" head bobble.

I personally love candy. I enjoy an ice cold Fanta after weeks or months of not indulging. And when I am at home, seldom a day goes by when I don't have a bite of chocolate or ice cream. It's not going to ruin your health and your teeth to eat sugar. The important thing to note is moderation.

The act of moving a wet toothbrush around your teeth will scrape off the majority of the bad things coating your teeth. It is not a necessity to have toothpaste (though it's certainly a great tool to have). Always making sure your teeth aren't covered in sugar will allow teeth to be stronger and feel the way they should feel: not painful.

The nurse interjected, "So when we go shopping, we should buy apples and fruits for the kids instead of Bongos?"


Do you have any advice on these topics that could be applied to the lives of the village people? We'd love your interest and assistance.