Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Explanation of our Ukarumpa Food Basket

Here is more information, for those who are interested, about how I came up with the prices referred to in the last blog post:

A market basket is a collection of items economists use to measure inflation. I tried to gather a basket of goods that most closely resembled the market baskets used in the
US and the UK. Of course I couldn't collect exactly the same items that are used in our home countries. For instance, I used UHT boxed milk, as fresh milk isn't available in our store. I didn't include fruit and vegetables because oranges and apples (which I was planning to put in the basket) are out of stock here right now.

I found prices for UK and US items on supermarket websites. I chose the cheapest items; although these may not have been closest in quality to the ones available here, they are the items that we would purchase if we were living in our home countries. Here are detailed figures:

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Price of Food

One of the most common questions we get asked is, "What do you eat?" The photo below was taken in the store here in the Ukarumpa centre. As you can see, we are fortunate to have access to basic food supplies. We generally have an adequate range of key ingredients, though we can never guarantee that a particular product will be in stock at the time we need it! Since getting back from Home Leave, we've already gone through one week when there were no eggs for sale at all.

What might you expect to pay for these products? Here is what we would need to pay for them in various locations and at different times:

Cheapest US Price
Cheapest UK Price23
Current Ukarumpa Price51
2004 Ukarumpa Price

(For more information about how I came up with these figures, see our next blog post)

I won't pretend to understand all the reasons for these price differences. I do know that some of these items are imported specially because they are not items that Papua New Guineans would normally use. The increase in strength of the Papua New Guinean Kina against the dollar and pound has made a big difference to us over the last several months; this is one of the reasons that the basket of food above costs more than twice as much as it did in 2004, when Andrew was already living here and I was preparing to come. And of course all of you will have noticed the increase in food prices worldwide over the last few years.

Fortunately we are able to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and beans from local growers at an early morning market here on the centre. The prices are often lower than they would be in our home countries, and so we are eating a lot of market produce right now!

Increased cost of food is one reason why our expenses are significantly higher than they have been in the past. Of course we also have one more mouth to feed now. So far, Heidi seems to be enjoying food as much as the rest of us do!

Praise God:
-Levi has been healthy and happy since we sent out our January update asking you to pray.
-For financial support from a range of sources.
-For those who keep the store stocked with basic ingredients for cooking.
-I (Clare) am balancing my time and energy better.
-Two new Wycliffe members will soon be arriving to work at Autoshop.

Please Pray:
-That we will receive sufficient support each month to cover our outgoings. (Our positions are
non-salaried and so we rely on God to provide for our needs through churches and individuals).