No. of Recommendations: 0
-andrew, living on $2,100 a month in Chicago and starting to feel squeezed

We served in a DR Congo village for 10 years, as part of a faith-based NGO. Some idea of costs:

Utilities: Off the grid. Solar panels.
House help (required, or your neighbors will think you're stingy): $60/month.
Medical: Very cheap if you could find any. Mostly self-treat and consult with a local nurse, good at diagnosing local ailments, and keep wholesale quantities of standard drugs around (for yourself and share with friends). Fly out ($700 each way) if you need more complicated medical.
Water: Send house help running to source with buckets. Purify with water filter.
Food: $20 would feed a family for a week.
Entertainment: Friendship, hunting, fishing, gardening
Car: You kidding? We got around on bicycles
Taxes: We learned to be very nice to local government officials.
Our biggest expense was to charter a flight out on a bush plane every few months. In the 90s, that cost $700 per flight. We could sell seats we weren't using, and there was local mining going on, so people with money to pay. I had a flight manager who I paid a commission to for filling the seats.

I reckon our monthly expenses, even with flights, came to well under $1K.
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