3 sticks, hot glue, bailing wire, and lots and lots of duct tape.
Alternatively, what about something like a gorillapod? You know, the ones that wrap around and hold onto existing uprights like a tree or pole or something? Smallish, portable, and relatively inexpensive compared to good tripods.
If you're actually going to be in the middle of a flat area with nothing to use the gorillapod on, get some of the cheapest tripods that'll hold the camera + lens, and start saving up. I'd recommend $400+ and get a quality tripod, although not top of the line. Trust me, I went from ok second hand, to heavy and sturdy (but heavy!) second hand, to a very nice, new, mid end Benro carbon fiber. It might take some time to save up. Go do more chores, or take some artistic shots of local landmarks and sample prints and setup at your local farmers market and take orders or something.