Do you remember when I posted about Kara's Rainbow Flower project a few weeks ago? She made it for a special project at school where her class was trying to earn money for the Heifer Foundation. We found out on Friday that as a class they made enough money that they can send two Llama to a village in need.
As part of the learning experience we went on a special field trip last week. We happen to live near a Heifer Global Village which is one of only four educational training centers in the United States. The class got to see first hand how people who live in poverty and hunger really live, and how blessed we are to live where we live. One of the places we visited was this hut made with mud and thatch that was from Africa. They kids were surprised to see that there were only dirt floors and no door. They also learned about how a child usually around their age would have to walk far, often several times a day, to get fresh water to drink.
They were shocked to find out that this tiny little house was from present day in some areas of the Appalachian Mountains. It had no electricity, no heat, and very little furniture. There was only a bunk bed in one corner, one dresser, and one bench. There was a wood stove inside, but it was missing the pipe to release the smoke outside. Even on our 50+ degree day it was a bit chilly inside.
This was in the corner of the tiny house. It was an antique non working washing machine. It could not work even if they wanted it to, because there was no running water or electricity in the house. It was explained that it was in the house because it was most likely found somewhere, and they wanted to feel like they owned something. It was also explained that they could not just go get a job because they often did not have working cars, or a chance to get a real education they would need to hold a job.
This was probably the most luxurious of the houses we saw. It was from Thailand and most likely would have been owned by a rice farmer or fisherman. It did have a door that could be secured to keep wild animals out. They were also lucky enough to have a tin roof which would not rot like the thatched roof and a wood floor. .
This is used to harvest the rice. The kids thought it looked like a giant Frisbee.
This shack was from a slum in India. It was put together using things found at the dump. The kids were very glad not to have to live here.
Our last stop was in a small house from Peru. It too had a dirt floor, but it did have some interesting things inside.
These sandals for the family were made from recycled tires
Traditional costumes hung on the wall.
While at this house, the kids had to help prepare and cook a lunch similar to what was eaten at the home. I helped with the cooks, while our counselor showed some of the group how to start a fire. Using only the campfire, and a very small camp stove we had to make lunch for 16 people.
There was no place to sit, or a table so we had to have lunch on the ground. There was only a plate, one piece of silverware and a plastic cup filled with water for each person. Two of the kids in the group were given a map, and had to go to the safe water source for our drinking water.
Probably the favorite dish of everyone were these flavored potatoes. Unfortunately we only had enough for everyone to get a very small portion. There was more rice to eat, but it was a bit hard and crunchy. Since we had to be back to the bus at a certain time, we did not have enough time to let it cook for long.
We also had a small portion of Quinoa Rainbow Salad. It was Quinoa mixed with vegetables and spices and cooked over a fire. It was also better than what we expected, probably because we were pretty hungry at that point. This was actually a great thing for the kids to experience. They did not realize how little many other people in the world have. Preparing the food, they found that others don't have refrigerators and stoves. They did go back to school a little bit hungry. (it was almost the end of the day at that point, so it was okay)
This was Kara's favorite part of the day. She got to meet the three Alpacas that live on the grounds. They seemed to really like her too. When we had to leave they followed, wondering where we were going. I have already told her that she can not add an alpaca to our zoo.
If you ever have the chance to experience something like this, you really should go. It really makes you appreciate what you have.