Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Hoover Maneuver

     I came across the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Mexico during the Spring Break of 2009 with United Christian Fellowship, and I seized it.  I felt called by God to go, my first flight, my first out of country experience(besides Canada and when I went you didnt even need a passport), my first mission trip, an introduction to a new world.  It was a life-changing trip and I will never be the same.  This trip redirected my life in hundreds of ways.  On this trip, we stayed in villagers houses in the small Mexican towns.  These people offered their homes to us, their beds, and fed us.  We did construction, building a camp for kids in the towns to come learn about Jesus.  We taught bible school to the children in Spanish and we visited poor, sick, and struggling community members and families.  We taught the children in a small school.  We did free dental work to people who could not afford dentistry.  In exchange for our work, we were  housed and fed.  And boy, were we fed.  As poor college kids, most of us were not used to having large quantities of free food all around us. 
 We were not used to hot meals.  We were not accustomed to baskets of fruit available to us 24 hours a day filled with the sweetest fruit we had ever tasted.  I had exchanged about 50 American dollars for Pesos at the airport, but ended up hardly spending any money the entire week.  The only time I spent money was to purchase a few tiny inexpensive souvenirs at the market and two trips to restaurants for group outings.  Besides these, the entire week was free aside from money spent on the flight.  "What a way to live", I thought.  Exchanging our labor, talents, strengths, and compassion for our basic needs being completely fulfilled.  Living a life style in close relationship with God, and being taken care of completely while doing so.  I wondered what it would be like when I got back to the states and I didnt have this lifestyle. 
Where everyone around me wasnt living for God, where my basic needs were barely met, where my strengths and talents were mostly overlooked, where I had to live my life hustling just to have a roof and a somewhat full and satisfied belly.  I met a close friend of mine on this trip.  I met a lot of close friends actually.  One of which was Brenden Hoover.  This kid was fun, and spontaneous, focused on God and the mission, hardworking, and very relaxed with a great sense of humor.  The perfect friend to meet on a mission trip.  We realized we had many friends in common and very similar lives back home, we were shocked we hadnt already met before the trip.  One of the things we immediately bonded on was the  food.  Everything we tasted was phenomenal.  And free.  We ate as much as we could, as often as we could.  Absorbing the Mexican culture and tasting the free rewards of our labors.  It was heavenly and we were so spoiled.  Hoover proudly confessed that he hadnt paid for food in 70 days.  And he had decided to stop paying for food so he could pay for the Mexico trip. But how? I wondered.  Apparently he lived a Kramer kind of life. 
 He ate free food at events on campus, mooched off friends and their leftovers, and went anywhere where anything was free.  I did this as well, but Brenden had this expertise about it, he had honed the skill.  NOT paying for food, to afford more missions.  Brilliant.  I decided after struggling to afford the flight, and after eating so well all week, I just couldnt go back to my old lifestyle.  I wouldnt work my life away to pay for horrible, cheap, non-nutritious food all the time.  I was already one of the cheapest people I know, but food seemed like one of those things you just HAVE to pay for.  So I made the conscious decision to strategize better and quit paying for food.  

When we got back to Charlotte we constantly texted eachother and let eachother know about any activities or events happening on campus that supplied free food and we traded and mooched off eachother.  We incorporated and encouraged our mission-mates and friends to join in on the shenanigans.  We quickly and easily developed a network of innovative, cheap, hungry and poor friends.  Soccer games with free tshirts, specials at chikfila, events with free snacks, handouts on campus, care packages, friends dinner parties, Brenden even came to a feminist union film about water births for some free cake and fruit.  It was great.  It had a positive impact on my budget, and honestly?  I loved the adventure.  I was scavenging.  It was a blast.  Just a few steps closer in my quest for total food freedom.  <3


  1. why is the story so old yet the post so new? i cant sleep until i know the answer to this conundrum.

  2. suga lips! step 1) brad pitt. Step 2) I actually tried some wine named conundrum(love that word) over the holiday break and it was ON POINT. Step 3) I was recently trying to trace back where my freeganism began. In some ways, Ive been a freegan all my life, but I was struck by how I hadnt before realized that Mexico and Hoover both jump started my journey in a rather significant manner. step 4) I do so much, that Im often years behind, my to do lists and dream lists are never ending,and when it comes to writing im decades behind on everything Ive wanted to write. Step 5)I miss dumpster corn. step 6) toodles! ; )