Today’s main theme was a reality challenge: $1 a day. Today every one of us had to experience surviving with a dollar and then explain what we gained out of it at the end of the day. The question of the day was “Could you live with a $1 a day?” Today was early wake up, so everyone had to wake up at 6:30 am and be at the dining hall by 7:30 am to begin our day with a simple breakfast meal. The reason we had a simple breakfast meal today was because the whole point of today was to challenge ourselves to live like a lot of Dominicans who live in rural communities. At 8:30 am we left to our field trip of the day, we went to El Cerro de Mogollon. This was such an amazing experience, we actually had a chance to visit a rural community in which every single one of us had the opportunity to spend time with families and put ourselves in their shoes for a day. In this field trip we did some labor work, for example we helped a community member beat rice grains. We basically take a pile of dry rice grains and beat them against a big barrel and that would sort of shake all the rice seeds off the actual wheat. This was definitely experience that “hit me in the head” because my group and I beat the rice for about half an hour and already were we dripping in sweat. This was definitely hard work especially because we had to work in the bear sun. Personally, after this experience I will think about how much work and hours it takes to provide a plate of rice. I think that after today all of my peers including myself will definitely appreciate the things we had back at home because today not only did we learn a little bit more about poverty here in the Dominican Republic but we also had the chance to live it. Something that really shocked me was that community members wake up early to work, for example the rice beating workers wake up at 6 am and finish around 1 pm. During this time it takes 2 people to fill up from 15 to 20 sacks of rice seeds. I’m really proud of our entire delegation because everyone faced this challenge with an open mind; no one was afraid to live like a lot families have to live. I feel like we all gained a deeper understanding of the word “poverty” and also I think a lot of our perspective of the world in a way shifted gears. After getting to know how they work, we had the chance to eat with the families and interact with them. We ate “moros” which is beans and rice mixed together. This was my rose of the day because I learned how different their lives are from ours, they have a completely different view of the world. I really loved how at the end of the day, after all the struggles, they take time to learn English and go to the university. Around 1 pm we started wrapping up to head back to San Juan De Managua, but before we left we gave each family a thank you card telling them how much we appreciated them sharing a little bit of their life with us. We arrived to our hostel around 1:45 pm and after a pretty tiring day; we were given the chance to have free time until 5 pm. A lot of people took advantage of this time to take naps and shower. Today, we had to shower using buckets and only filling it half way with water. This was a pretty interesting experience because were so used to showering in luxurious showers. At 5pm we started our English prep; we had time of plan out the schedule for our class and jot some ideas down for the upcoming classes. We headed to our English class 15 minutes before 6 pm to be there on time. After class we went to dinner to the nearby restaurant. Then we had our regular nightly meeting where we share out our ideas and what we thought about today’s challenge. This was definitely one of the hardest days since we all had to do things that we weren’t use to, like the bucket showers, the simple meals, not being able to use electronics and using the least electricity as possible. I wouldn’t regret this experience for anything in the world, at the end of the day it was all worth it.
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