Before yesterday ended I told everyone to remember to keep the word empathy in their mind; everyone exceeded expectations. I had the “wonderful” opportunity to wake everyone up at 5:00 am to get ready for the challenge we were about to have, the $1 a day challenge. A challenge that is the reality for most Nicaraguans. The title is self explanatory, but essentially we were challenged to spend this whole day living on $1–meaning no electricity, no easy access to running water (which meant figuring out how to shower with a bucket), and no variety in the food available to us. We even spent the morning learning how to live and work with a family who faces this “detriment”. With all of this happening, we had to keep in mind the essential question, “What makes someone poor”. After a 6:00 an breakfast that consisted of Gallo pinto and tortillas, we went to the area where our families lived.
We got to the community, Tejerina, and got placed with one fellow glimpser and our Tejerina family and spent from 7-12 living the lives of the family who fell under the category of $1/day. Just to get a glimpse of their lives, I’ll share a quick summary of what I did with my family. I had a family of 5 with the head of the house being a woman named Ana. Ana lives in a little house with her three children (aged 7, 4 and 7 months) and her mother. As soon as we got there we asked what we can do to help and, in this exact order, me and Taryn swept up her house and her “front yard”, watered her plants, sorted out her beans and cooked them, washed her clothes, washed her dishes and made her special homemade ice cream. Stories from other glimpses ranged from making tortillas from kernel corn and walking the cows up the hills to getting fresh water 10 minutes from the houses. The atmosphere was amazing, it was as if these children never heard of the word poverty the way they were running around smiling and having fun. It was an experience that ended with us having lunch with the families, hugging and kissing them goodbye and going back to the hostel at around 1:00pm.
We all got back to the hostel where we had free time until 4:00 and then had our preparation session for our English tutoring sessions that we were having. We all finished our lessons and then and ate the same thing that we had for breakfast, Gallo pinto and tortillas. We then got everyone situated and walked to our classrooms except for Jasmine who stayed at home due to not feeling well.
We arrived at the school we were teaching at and after 10 minutes we got our students and our classrooms. The 4 groups were divided up into the groups beginner, intermediate and advanced, with beginner being for non English speakers and advanced being for the students who understand the English language. We all got into our classrooms and began our lesson that we planned for the past two days. My classroom in particular really enjoyed their times and the thing that surprised me the most was the aspiration and the motivation they had to learn or continue to learn the English language. They all volunteered and got really exited when they got the right answer. After a while we said our final goodbyes and walked home around 8:00.
When we got home I started the nightly meeting. The central response of the night was 1) possessions alone don’t make you rich and 2) the students are very inspired and driven to learn. After the responses I passed the torch to Jordyn as she impressed us with the greatest dance moves we will ever see on this trip. Then she took over as we discussed our next day and got surprised as Scarlett brought us peanut butter and jelly sandwich materials to make PB&J. Right after the surprise snack we got sent to bed where we had lights out at 9:15.
Tomorrow we will be continuing our exploration of poverty with a trip to a local dump, where we will meet organizations working to help families that rely on things found in the dump for their livelihood.