|We’re not as tidy as we used to be but there is no cupboard space for food. None of these items will be packed to travel with us. “Use ’em or “lose em.”|
In a perfect world, we could pack up our equipment, clothing, and toiletries and hit the road in 15 days. It is not that easy. If money didn’t matter, it would be less of a concern. We’d “pack and go” leaving food and household supplies behind without a thought.
Money does matter and using up our supplies makes economical sense. Gosh, if money didn’t matter, we’d have a strong, competent helper traveling with us to pack, carry our bags with nary a thought of excess baggage fees. In a perfect world.
Here we are, 15 days and counting until we board a plane for the necessary two days of travel to get us to Mpumalanga, South Africa. (It took us a minute to figure out how to pronounce that, “Puma, Langa”).
As time flies at this late date, we begin to access our supplies, determining what to keep, what to toss, and what to give away. One biggest consideration is our remaining food.
In an effort to live as “normal” a life as possible everywhere we go we purchase basic foodstuffs and household supplies. You know, all the food in the cupboards and on the door in the refrigerator plus paper supplies (baggies, paper towels, toilet paper, parchment), insect repellents (for body and air), bar soaps, etc.
We’ve discovered that approximately halfway through any of our extended stays, we begin to take note of what we need to use up before departing. Our lifestyle allows for no wastefulness, nor do the countries in which we live. Cautious use of power, water, and the accumulation of trash are a big concern for all of us in today’s world. We’ve especially conserved power and water with the many outages over these past months.
Our budget is fixed and we make every effort to maintain the integrity of its intent. We have no allowances for wastefulness. If I use a zip lock bag for a chunk of cheese, if it smells good when empty, I store it on the door of the refrigerator for one more use.
When we order ebooks, we choose a few from the thousands of “free” ebooks to offset the cost of purchasing one for US $8.95, in order to bring the average cost down to US $3.00 each. Thank goodness we have no books to pack!
|This is our tiny freezer. We’ll easily use what we have on hand before we leave, unlikely purchasing any more frozen meat. We eat nuts for dessert every night. Tom likes peanuts and I prefer raw macadamia, almonds, and cashews, all locally grown. Keeping as much as we can fit in the freezer prevents the possibility of monkeys raiding the kitchen.|
In our old lives, if a tee shirt had a stain, I would either try to get the stain out entirely or toss it. Not the case now. We save those for our “staying in” days, wearing nicer clothing when we leave the house. No longer can I jump in the car to drive to Old Navy to buy another batch of tee shirts for each of us.
Paper towels are flimsy in Kenya and still, I use one sheet at a time compared to my prior flippant use of sturdy paper towels. Tissues and toilet paper are equally flimsy but, we’re grateful to have any, using it sparingly.
This morning we began counting the remaining nights we’ll dine in while checking our remaining supply of meat in the freezer and the food in the tiny fridge.
With one more necessary trip to the grocery store to purchase water, cheese, nuts, and insect repellent, we’re contemplating the value of dining out for all of our dinners during the final week of November. This morning, I calculated the cost of purchasing more “dinner” food as opposed to dining out (calculated through our final day here) in order to make a determination:
US $4500.00-Combined grocery and dining out budget for the entire three months in Kenya
US $184.46-Average weekly grocery expense x 12 weeks=US $2213.52
US $129.06-Average weekly dining out expense x 12 weeks=US $1548.67
(calculating an average of 3x per week, including the 6 days for the final week)
US $3762.19-Total food and dining out the expenses for the full 12 weeks
US $737.81- Unused balance remaining in the food budget, which in our minds, covers the cost of our three day anniversary stay at the Diani Beach resort from October 29 to November 1, 2013. (We actually knew before we booked the resort that we’d have extra funds in our food allowance that would cover the resort expense).
|The top of the tiny refrigerator has been used as a cupboard. Spices are only available in these large containers. The enchilada sauce has no wheat or sugar. The local grocery store Nakumatt has some surprising ingredients, but is lacking in many familiar items for which we’ve learned to improvise, no longer giving it a thought.|
As a result of these calculations, we’ve decided to dine out each of the final six nights in Kenya while using the remaining food we have on hand, adding veggies from the produce stand on the road as needed. Any remaining food and household supplies will be given to Hesborn and Jeremiah (along with the last of the three months of divided tips we’ve given to each of them at the end of every month).
Now, back to the frustrating search for 11 nights in a hotel in Honolulu. Hopefully, we’ll have this resolved in the next few days to free us to begin the process of packing our boxes to be shipped to South Africa and the no-longer-overweight luggage we’ll be bringing aboard the plane.
Of course, at the end of our stay, we’ll share our total living costs in Kenya for the three full months, including the cost of our safari which by far was the best money we’ve spent so far!