“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” –Immanuel Kant
Today was the earliest and one of the most challenging days by far during this trip. Our theme was living on a dollar, which is how a majority of the world lives. It began last night after our group’s nightly meeting, the lights were turned out and water was only accessible through a bucket that was previously filled with shower water. Although there was running water and electricity in our hostel our group embraced the full experience of the theme of a dollar a day by not using water or electricity for a full 24 hours. In addition to no electricity or water we woke up at 4:45 to a breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and beans) and a slice of bread. After breakfast we all hopped on the bus and traveled to Llano Grande, a community that lives in poverty, and each of us were assigned to a host family.
Some of the students were in pairs; others were by themselves in families that varied from two per home to possible six or seven. The houses the people in the community lived in were very simple, made of brick with dirt floors and unsteady doors and windows and live stock roaming free around the house, such as dogs, chickens, and pigs. Each house also consisted with farmland for oranges, beans, and other fruits, the family relied on their crops to feed their family, however the rainy season this year is late. Most families are struggling to harvest their food and explained to the students the struggles to find other work. Each student spent five hours with their host families learning about the way the they live, performing daily chores such as sweeping or making tortillas and asking questions to their host family about the way that they live and about their community. In addition to the five hours or experiencing life in the community we also ate lunch with our host families by giving them a plate of food for each person in their family. Overall I speak for everyone by saying it was a very humbling experience and a huge reality check to see how privileged we really are as well as getting to hand on see how people in the majority of the world live.
Returning back to the hostel there were several hours of free time and some students chose to relax, some chose to take bucket showers, and other chose to plan the lesson for the tutoring that followed after dinner. Dinner today also consisted of gallo pinto and a slice of bread. After finishing the amazing dollar day dinner we walked to our school for a second time of tutoring. Most students agreed that tutoring English was a lot easier today and they felt more prepared for their lesson and we are all slowly but surely enjoying the experience. Lastly the day was concluded with our nightly meeting, which took place with candles to continue the theme of a one dollar day and students talking about their humbling experience during our very busy day.