As Leaders of “$1 a Day,” we had to show our peers what it would be like to live on one dollar a day by simulating the environment both in the hostel and in a rural community called Los Barzones. As a result, we were not able to use running water, electricity or consume any extra food or drinks besides water. We were given three meals consisting mainly of gallo pinto and tortillas. We traveled to Los Barzones in the morning and split into groups of four to shadow a local family.
Initially, as we entered the community, we were all surprised by how calm and peaceful the community was. However, as we split into four groups, we all realized how hard these people had to work just to survive. It was heart breaking to know that food was the main priority so education was often not possible. Each group had to “live in the life of a family” for around three hours. It was strenuous work and we all felt exhausted after just the first hour. What was most surprising, though, was the fact that they worked twice to four times as long as we did and that they did it every day. Also, it was rare for anyone in their teenage years to still be going to school because they had to work to support their families.
We are proud of the group for getting through the day with minimal complaints. The feeling of accomplishment after completing our work was rewarding and worth the sweaty hours. We forgot about our own lives and were really focused on lending our time and labor to make even a small difference for this community.
Some of the Global Glimpsers got the chance to talk to the wife of the community’s leader, who was very inspiring. After waking up at 3AM and working for over nine hours, she had the strength to travel to Leon to visit her husband in the hospital. Without an extra hand in the house, she managed to finish all the duties for the day.
As Los Lideres Del Dia, we felt that an authoritative role allowed us to explore the leaders within ourselves. From the morning wake up call to getting people through the challenges of the day to running the nightly meeting, we felt respect from the group. Although it was challenging to lead our peers, we managed to step out of our comfort zones in order to get everyone where they needed to be. We realized that we are far more fortunate than more than half of the world and after the bucket showers and the lack of electricity, we have a greater understanding of the struggles of the impoverished. We also hope to maintain the simplicity of this lifestyle by conserving our resources in the United States.