Hey guys, today was poverty day, and it was probably the most intense day so far. Started out chill enough with a 7am wakeup, which meant us leaders, Yeshi and Sophia, had to wake up 30 minutes earlier. Breakfast was simple (cereal and fruit salad). Then a poverty seminar, where the biggest take away was that around 2.5 billion people in the world live under 2 dollars a day and 1.5 billion live under 1 dollar a day.
After that the real day began. We headed to Cecaini, an elementary school. The principle, Jufamia, greeted us and told us about the school and the kids, and this philosophy that kids have a right to an education. She told us about the struggle of keeping kids in school and how parents pull them out to work, and some of the girls fall into prostitution.
On a more positive note, we then got to go play with the kids and get to know them. Everyone was really engaged and jumped right in without hesitation. Some played basketball, others practiced their Spanish, Andrea and Denae even got their hair braided. I (Sophia) started out talking with Martin, a quiet kid who didn’t want to go play. Instead we ended up drawing, and more kids came over. I ended up surrounded by kids, my arms covered in their art. The other boy I played with was Daniel. I gave him piggy back rides and let him take pictures on my camera and it was amazing. While my (Yeshi) time with the kids was spent playing basketball and encouraging them to play.
We came back to Dilenia’s for a wonderful meal of pork, rice (mixed with veggies), and salad. Immediately after it was off to the dump. There were mountains of trash and people of all ages scouring them for things to sell. The air had a lingering smell that we couldn’t get out of our noses for the rest of the day. Groups were paired with workers to talk to and find out more about their stories. For a lot of people the dump is a means for survival. One man spoke about how he never has time to see his children because if he stops working they’ll die. Majority of the workers hadn’t eaten and when we offered them snacks, practically all of them shared them or gave them away to their acquaintances. My (Sophia) group leader, Jose Miguel, told us that he has found 3 dead babies in cardboard boxes. He also explained his hope to get out of the dump after working there for 22 years. From my (Yeshi) worker, I heard that he was kicked out of his security job 3 days ago for no reason whatsoever. But, currently he has to work at the dump for his kids, whom he doesn’t get to see often. After listening to these kinds of stories for about an hour we had to leave. We spent the bus ride to Dilenia’s in silence, reflecting on and processing what we had just seen.
We took an hour to prepare for our English lesson and then headed out. It was fun just like always. A couple of classes went outside. Everyone seems to be doing better, students and teachers alike. It’s pretty impressive how these kids learn and how hard they’re willing to work.
At the end of the day we had our heaviest of self reflections as a whole group. It was very emotional and raw. There was so much said we can’t even begin to explain it all here. This is one thing you should really ask whoever you know who came to Constanza to explain. Everyone was really supportive of each other and there was a general consensus that we all need to be more appreciative of what we have (family, education, time, and food, not even touching on all of the extra materialistic things we own).
For many of us this was one of the most memorable days. It was truly a global glimpse of something we’ve never seen before. People aren’t going to change their whole identity based on this one day, but we will all make an effort to be more aware and look at the world with eyes wide open.
Isang Bagsak, “if one falls, we all fall together”.