Finances

If It’s Yellow…

I had the privilege of attending a mission trip to Haiti in the summer of 2008. I had an interest in missions and wanted to explore more about it. This was my opportunity to engage for a little bit and help others. 

To be honest, I never wanted to go to Haiti. I asked to go anywhere else but there. I don’t know why. I hadn’t been before and didn’t know much about it. I just knew that I didn’t want to go there. But I am SO glad I did. 

My three weeks in Haiti taught me foundational principles about life and faith. I continue to learn from and value them today. 

I will save most of the stories for another time. What I want to highlight today is actually about finances and a way of life. Going through this COVID economic scare has made me think a lot about my time in Haiti. The people there had very little in way of possessions. They were fortunate if they had a house that kept standing.

I heard many stories of people going days without food and water. I held a sweet child whose belly was protruding. It wasn’t because she was chubby, but because she was extremely dehydrated and hungry. Yet, she had the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. I can still picture her little face and big smile 12 years later. 

Nearly most of the people there were some of the most joyful and faith-filled people I’ve met. Why is that? It’s because that was their normal way of life. They had to learn to be content with what they had. They had to rely on the Lord to provide their every need, literally. 

I am extremely grateful for all that we’ve been blessed with in this country. I know our country struggles with homelessness. I know a lot of people are on welfare, disability, and in bankruptcy. We have our trials too. But overall, we have been a very blessed nation. 

If you are facing a financial crisis right now, I will do what I can in the next few weeks to outlines tips to help you save and get through these hard times. 

Two of the tips I learned in Haiti pertain to water. 

1) “If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down”. Yes, I said it. 

Water is extremely limited in Haiti. They can go weeks without rain which means their cisterns don’t get filled up. Water is a precious commodity. We didn’t flush the toilet in Haiti unless we needed to. Toilet paper went in a lined trash can. It was like using a glorified outhouse. But it saved a ton on water. 

Since you’re not having company over right now, you don’t have to worry about people seeing your yellow toilet. Make sure to at least clean the seat daily and do what you can to keep the toilet clean too. You don’t have to toss the toilet paper in a trash can, as we do have a better sewage system. Don’t use a ton of toilet paper. You can usually get five to six uses before you need to flush. 

2) Try what I call a Haitian shower. Get in, turn the water on, and rinse your hair. Turn the water off, shampoo, shave, and wash your body. Then turn the water back on and rinse off. Turn the water off when you’re done. If you have to condition your hair, rinse, water off, shampoo, water on to rinse, then turn it off again. Condition and finish your shower routine before turning the water on again. It will save a ton of litres off your bill. 

Michael thought I was crazy when I started doing this recently. Trust me when I say that I LOVE my showers! I will stay in there until the water runs cold. However, now isn’t the time for luxury. It’s a time to save. 

Michael, being my numbers man, decided to quantify this effort. He had one of his regular showers for about five to ten minutes. He plugged the tub and then measured the water when he was finished. He used about 40-45 litres. 

He had a Haitian shower the next day. He only used 15 litres of water. He saved 30 litres with just one shower. How much more could you save over the course of a month? You don’t have to shower every day either. It’s actually better for your skin in the long run not to. 

If you’re one that struggles with more oily hair, you can wash your hair in the sink or at the side of the tub if needed. 

I know these tips won’t show instant savings, but it will drastically reduce your hydro bill when it comes. Reducing your utility bills will definitely help you right now, especially if Employment Insurance takes a while to come in. 

Let me know if there are any savings tips you’d like me to write about in the next few weeks. I’m happy to help where I can. 

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