If you really want to make a difference in the world, it starts with Love. Love of self, Love of nature & Love of others.
If you take Love as the key component & couple it with the following formula, Poverty can indeed be eradicated & the basic needs of the poor can be meet.
1. Water Purification. We can live on little food but we can’t live without water. One of today’s deadliest killers of children is contaminated water. There are many ways to purify water but the following 3 methods are the easiest & most cost effective. Boil your water for 3 minutes. SODIS method using plastic PET water bottles (thick plastic will not work) or glass bottles that are filled with water & left in the sun for 6 hours. The other is to use moringa seeds to kill bacteria & other pathogens.
2. Nutrition. Grow papaya, peanuts, sesame seeds, chick peas, beets, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, moringa, etc. Moringa is better than a multi vitamin because it contains:
22% daily value of Vitamin C
41% daily value of Potassium
61% daily value of Magnesium
71% daily value of Iron
125% daily value of Calcium
272% daily value of Vitamin A
These plants are nutritious, robust & easy to grow. Sell what you do not consume.
3. Hygiene. Hygiene is so critically important to staying healthy & natural soap is actually not hard to make. Natural soap can be made from yucca root or soap seeds. This kind of soap can be used for washing clothes & for personal use. It is easy to make, just remove the skin of the yucca root & place the peeled root in water. Just slosh it around to activate the saponins. The younger the yucca root, the more it will lather. For the soap seed preparation you just need to remove the hulls from the seeds & then place the hulls in water. You can also use this soapy water for washing your hair. Or you can mix 1 tbsp. baking soda with 1 cups warm water in a glass jar & pour over wet hair. Rinse & then combine 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with 1 cup warm water in the glass jar, pour over your head & rinse. In absence of water for making soap you can use the gel from the aloe plant to wash your hands. It’s 6 antiseptic agents kill bacteria, viruses and fungus. You can take it internally or apply externally to clean and treat wounds. A natural household cleanser is also easy to make. All you need to do is add vinegar to a jar & place used over lemon, lime or orange rinds in it. A wonderful substitute for toothpaste is mint or sage leaves. Sage can also be used to heal mouth & gum sores & to stop bleeding. The Miswak toothbrush from the Arak tree has amazing antibacterial properties & was used since ancient times to brush teeth.
4. Compost Toilets. When time & money is of the essence I teach the poor how to use a chamber pot or plastic bucket. I prefer to have one bucket for pee & one for poo. Why you might ask? Well, pee contains a lot of nitrogen & can be used to water plants when done early in the morning. If you use pee to water plants in the afternoon, you will need to water it down. Now for the pot you poo in, keep a bucket of saw dust, dried leaves or rice husks close by because you will need to add a cup full to the pot after you are done doing your “business”. The pot with the poo & saw dust should get dumped in a secure, remote compost bin. Over time keep adding leaves, till often & eventually it will turn into healthy soil that can be used in your garden. Nota Bene: Keep a stash of home made yucca soap or soap seed soap in the bathroom area & wash your hands after doing your business & after emptying the compost bucket!
5. Alternative Medicine. Most medicines are made from plants. This youtube video will help you have a better understanding of some of mother nature’s first aid tips http://youtu.be/ay6Z_ahkv_E. An important tip I teach the poor is how to not get malaria by taking Vitamin B1 or eating foods high in Vitamin B1 (sun flower seeds, asparagus, green peas, acorn squash, soy beans). It is also important to not leave empty containers around their homes where mosquitos can propagate. I also show them how to make natural bug repellent & how to plant marigold, lemon grass, lemon balm, citronella, etc. around their homes & gardens to keep pests away. What I am about to share with you is not widely known but the plant that is used to make malaria medication & has a 95% cure rate is called artemisia annua. It is a weed & you can get 10,000 seeds for just $3USD. It is easy to grow artemisia annua & if you harvest the leaves right before the flower blooms, it will be at its most potent. Dry the leaves & mix with peanut butter to treat malaria. Another life saving tip I share with midwives is to use epsom salts (which contains magnesium) as a low tech treatment for pregnant women who are suffering from eclampsia or swollen ankles. All you need to do is dip a rag into water & mixed with epsom salts & then place the rag on the head or belly of the pregnant mother.
6. Family Planning. Cycle Beads Necklaces or Fertility Necklaces are easy to use & help women keep track of the days when they are at their most fertile (which is between the 8 & 19 day after their period starts). The necklace is a string of 32 color-coded beads & a clip charm that can be used to track the days in their cycle once their period starts. Not everyone has access to beads. Therefore I teach poor village women to make these necklaces with the materials they have available to them, mainly trash. I also show them how to come up with helpful color schemes & recommend they leave a Red bead to represent when their period starts & to try & use a color that makes the 12 fertile days really stand out. Artist Eva Ruiz & I collaborated on the following Cycle Bead necklace. We used a large red speckled Bead to represent the 1st day the period starts & picked 12 chrystal green beads to represent the “fertile” days.
The Standard Cycle Bead System (which is not the necklace in the picture to the left) uses a different color scheme. In a perfect world this would be fine expect women living in remote villages have limited resources & need to use what they can get their hands on. Furthermore it is important to note that this system will not work for women who have irregular periods. Women with irregular periods should see a doctor & determine the cause.
7. Eco Refrigerator. Electricity is a luxury in many developing countries. In the past our ancestors used eco refrigerators in the form of a root cellar. In Europe they were called “Caves” which were used for storing wine & beer. Mountain caves were also used because they were dark, damp & cold. I recently came across the pot in a pot cooling system. It is an easy to assemble clay pot within a clay pot. The empty space in between the 2 pots is filled with sand. Pour water over the sand & voila! Just add your veggies, milk & cheese & place a wet rag over the top & you have a mini frige. Do not mix fruit (bananas, apples, ext.) in your eco frige because it will make your vegetables ripen faster. Also to extend the life of your produce even further just dip the wet rag in cinnamon or clove water which will prevent bacteria from forming. If you are truly destitute & do not have clay pots, then you can place your produce, left over cooked food, milk, etc. in a glass jar or other container that can be sealed tight & bury it in the ground. Preferably in a shady area.
8. Solar Energy. Sun can purify contaminated water, provide eco lights for homes, start a fire & help us prepare meals. Solar stoves can be made out of cardboard boxes & reflective material (shiny balloons, aluminum foil, inside of chip bags, etc.). You can also start a fire using the sun’s rays aimed at the bottom of a soda can. The concave part of the bottom of the can refracts the sun’s rays. Aim the sun light towards easy to burn tinder to start a fire. To create an eco indoor light during the day all you have to do is fill a 2 liter soda plastic bottle with water, some vinegar & place in a hole in the roof. This system is better known as the “Liter of Light“.
9. Art made from trash. I teach a wide range of eco art classes using found objects, plarn (yarn made from plastic bags). The easiest class I teach is how to repurpose broken vases. When a vase breaks most people usually throw it out. I teach people to glue it back together & then to collage the exterior with trash. The collaged material will help cover up the broken cracks. For collaging I use egg shells, candy wrappers, the foil found inside of cigarette boxes, tobacco leaves (the part that gets thrown away when hand rolling cigars), etc. Basically, you convert these broken objects into works of art & sell them to make money.
These 9 simple steps can help eradicate poverty. Even during difficult economical times we can still share what we have with those who do not. We can share our Knowledge, our Time, our Love & Compassion… And it costs nothing.
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