Today we embarked on a very unique and inspirational journey in hopes of understanding life from another perspective. By eliminating running water and electricity as we went about our daily business, we were able to accomplish our goal of putting ourselves in the shoes of a person who can realistically only afford to live off of one dollar each day. As the day began to unfold, we had to fight our own instincts to turn on the light switch and sink faucet. This challenge resonated with the students and allowed the reality of how extreme living conditions around the world can be to really sink in.
After waking up extra bright and early (5:30AM) everybody particiapted in the first “reality challenge” by taking bucket showers. We proceeded to breakfast where we enjoyed a simple breakfast consisting of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans). Afterwards, we traveled to a smaller community within Granada called Pantanal. Upon our arrival we split into groups of two to three and met the families that we would be spending the majority of our day with. In my (Madison’s) case, this meant helping out with the que haceres de la casa (chores) by cleaning dishes and sweeping the outdoor area while chatting with my “mom,” Julieta. Once her six children returned from their school day at around noon, an exciting game of soccer changed the pace a bit. Next, we joined inside the house and shared a meal of carne con arroz before finishing off our visit by sharing lots of laughs with them all. A personal highlight was being able to play with the youngest son, Oscarito. His infectious laugh put the biggest smile on my face as he continuously asked me to toss him up into the air. Overall, the time I was able to spend with them was both an eye opening and rewarding experience. Also, in my (Cheyenne’s) afternoon, I and two other students were greeted and welcomed by the hospitable Jaenette, who was a mother of four children. We began by helping out with daily chores such as washing the dishes and sweeping the floors. We bonded quickly with the family as we continued to play several light hearted games with the kids. I personally shared a special bond and connection with the three little girls who reminded me of home and myself as a young girl, as I washed and braided their hair and played around with them. It was all a very humbling experience and we feel that every person had a lot to gain from it.
Following our visit we were all exhausted to say the least. The bus ride back was very calm as students did a combination of reflection and napping. After freshening up, we set off for dinner at the comedor and then headed straight to our first English tutoring session where we taught different levels of adult English students. Seeing as none of us are professional teachers, this felt a little bit tricky but at the end of the night we remembered how much it meant for them to be there learning English and left feeling inspired for our next tutoring session.