A Dollar A Day was pivotal to Global Glimpsers’ understanding the lifestyle of many Dominican locals. Despite our many luxuries such as purified running water, electricity, and housing, we tried our best to simulate living as if we were on a dollar a day. All Glimpsers woke up around 6 AM and took bucket showers with cold water. We did not use any electricity while getting ready that day. Our breakfast was a modest meal of a loaf of bread and hot chocolate, which was smaller than what we usually eat. We traveled to the community of Arroyo Lorro and split into two groups, one that would be working in the fields and another work alongside the mothers of the community. Rebecca worked in the houses and Isatou worked in the fields. These are our different experiences.
Working in the houses was one of the most touching experiences I’ve ever had. We split the ten of us into 5 groups and followed the warm smiles into their homes. The lady of the house initially did not want us to work because she saw us as guests. She finally decided to let us wash dishes by using two huge pails of water. In spirit of living on a dollar a day, I offered to get rid of the soapy water and fill it up. The lady was skeptical of my ability and was able to confirm that I was there to work. We shared a laugh as I spilled water all over my shoes while trying to mimic her way of throwing water. As we waited for a new chore to complete, the young children came in hoards and attacked Diana and I. They were amazed to see us and boldly sat on our laps and braided our hair. We then mopped the floors of certain areas since she didn’t want them to do them all. In the next house, we cut vegetables to help cook the combite (lunch with the community) for everyone. As we chopped, even more hoards of kids came to see us. They crowded around as one of the older children showed us how to cut the onions into ring shapes. All of the children laughed because I started to tear up and then cry due to the onions. Their welcoming and innocent natures reached me and made me feel a bond with them. After we waited for the combite to finish cooking, the kids showed us around the community. As we walked alongside them, they slipped their tiny hands into mine and grinned ear to ear. They led us to the rio (river) and we saw many tiny boys stark naked bathing. They shouted gleefully as they frolicked in the calm waters and at that moment, it felt like pure bliss. The kids continued to show us around as we excitedly followed them as they showed us el play (baseball field) and the ins and out of the place. This experience truly touched me because not only were the young children welcomed us with open arms, but they committed the smallest acts of kindness for us. They smiled with delight as I a let them hold my water bottle, backpack, and my hand. They had so little yet were so willing to give us anything, requested or not. They scrambled up trees to offer us fruit, fought over who got to hold my hand, and smiled like it meant the world to them when I carried them on my back. I have never experienced such a memorable moment before and it truly pained me to leave them.
Working in the fields had a greater impact on the group and myself than I anticipated. We got back on the guagua and took a 10-minute ride to the fields. All we saw was green. Green green green. There were no workers in sight yet. The director of the program IDIAF (Instituto Dominicano de Investigacion Agricola y Forestal) gave us a short overview of the organization. They help inform those who work in agriculture to improve production and growth. Then, we headed out to work for a dollar. We received hoes and under the beaming, harsh sun, tried our best to plow the field. It was HARD. The educators and volunteers repeatedly stopped us to show us how to do it correctly so that we would not damage the roots of the sweet potatoes. Adriel was a PRO in the fields-while we were still struggling on the first line of crops, he already hoed half of the field correctly. Our hard work could be seen in the sweat on our backs and small blisters on our hands. Then, we realized that we could only imagine having one or no short breaks, no money for lunch, little sun protection, and more expectations. That is when we realized what it was really like for the workers. Everyone enjoyed that first experience and was ready to head on to another field. The director walked us to and experimental field that they planned on using to improve farming and research. The expensive experiment was really inspiring because their mission was mainly to make improvements in production and agriculture overall and because the planned on giving all the vegetable to the community Arroyo Lorro after the observations few volunteers were working on the field. Their system was surprisingly smart; bare footed, despite the contaminated water on the field, they would grab a handful of roots along a line of soil. A pair of workers would come along and make a hole for the root, stick it in, and cover it up with water. The glimpsers were READY. Most had already taken off their shoes by the time we actually reached the field and were walking in. When the director said no, the mood in the group dropped a little bit. But the glimpsers had really good questions coming which the director enjoyed He saw the hunger for the experience in our faces and allowed us to go into the fields but with shoes on. A few, including myself, were hesitant to get our hands, clothes and shoes muddy. But the working glimpsers looked so happy that we had to get to work. Just like the workers working at the time, we worked together and finished a whole row. As our tour went more in depth, we learned a lot of new information about vegetables and agriculture. I was really excited because despite all the complaints about the heat, sunburns, and aches, everyone wanted to learn more and keep on working and walking. We pulled out a few yucca trees and at first, decided to give the vegetables to Onaney (the restaurant we have all our meals at) but after spending time with the community, gave it to the mothers for them to cook. Even though we left Arroyo Lorro with pain, we also left with realization, knowledge, intention, and smiles.
After we returned from Arroyo Lorro, we had free time. Everyone had unique and emotional stories to share. Everyone offered to give up a Pool Day to go back to the small village. This small village atop a mountain our small tasks impacted the glimpsers numerous ways. We all grew 10 years older in just 4 hours.