Today was the famous “Living on a Dollar a Day,” which was our first reality challenge here in Leon. Actually, our experience began last night after the nightly meeting when anything that required the use of electricity (including fans, music devices, and lights) was not allowed to be used and we ate only rice, beans, and cheese for dinner. To make the experience even stronger, we began our bucket showers! Everyone seemed to go to sleep anxious and in anticipation of what was to come the following day.
Being the Lider del Dia, it was my responsibility to wake everyone up, so I woke up at 4:00 A.M., got ready for the day in the dark, and went to wake everyone up by 5:00 A.M., which seemed to scare everyone, but I am sure that loud and fast pounding on a door with someone screaming wake up did the job! For breakfast we ate our expected beans and rice with water, and from there we headed out to a rural community named Los Barzones at around 7:00Am. There, we all went with our assigned families or persons to their houses led by the leader of the community Don Vicente. At the homes everyone had to do some sort of work which included chopping wood, drawing water from wells, cooking, cleaning, and clearing areas of plants using machetes (after all safety measures were taken of course!). During the times we spoke with the people of Los Barzones, we asked them many questions and they told us an amazing amount about many aspects of their lives. Some families had children, who wanted to play with us and were very curious. As the day went on, it continued to become hotter and the buzz of insects grew louder and louder. We began to start to realize that this was only part of the every-day life and that there is certainly far more of the world than we realized, however upon leaving at 1:30P.M., the uncertain and scared feelings we had the day before about how the experience was going to go were proven wrong as it was a very, very interesting and even enlightening experience; even leaving the community made us feel sad as if we wanted to stay and learn more.
When we returned to the hostel, every single bathroom was filled and surprisingly bucket showers were very warmly welcomed. Later that evening, we had our last meal of rice and beans, and right afterwards, we headed off to teach English for the first time! Everyone was looking forward to this and this experience lived well up to its expectations. In groups of 3-5 people, we taught English to the people with English knowledge ranging from little to advanced. Everyone was shy in the beginning, however we seemed to warm up to each other a lot by the end of the lessons and more people will be coming tomorrow so we definitely will be looking forward to the lessons even more!
Reflecting on the day, it was probably the longest and most taxing of any of the others days. Given that however, it was filled with an amazing amount of life-changing experiences. During the nightly meeting, we reflected upon the quote and question of the day, and realized that we learned so much more than we had previously thought. We learned that simply money was not required to lead a successful life, and just because one has money and abundant resources that did not mean that that person was automatically successful- we noticed how happiness and immaterial items were just as important and necessary and maybe even more-so than material items to lead a successful life. To end the night, I passed the Lider del Dia “torch” to Lisa who will be the Lider del Dia for Education Day!