Reflections on the Shack Experience

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The shack is a memory I will never forget. The rock picking, clamming, field work, and everything in between. Doing something like this builds you up so much, and it most defiantly changes you. I was so happy to have my friends (or now i guess you could call them family) with me. I know now that having people with you to encourage you can make the world of difference. I don’t know if I could have made this journey without them. I now truly understand why family is so important down here in Mexico. It’s beacuse it has to be, it’s because you couldn’t face all these challenges without support, without people helping you on those tough days. The days you don’t wanna get out of your shack to go work another 9 hour day, when you have those thoughts going through you head like ” why, is it even worth it?”From all my experiences down here in Mexico, the shack experience has been completely different. It showed me things I could have heard or learned about but not actually fully understand until experiencing it. Waking up in the morning was quite peaceful in my little cardboard home, that I was most definatly attached to, for about a 30 seconds. Then I started to think about everything you’ve gotta do to survive. You start the daily process with “gotta wake the rest of the family up, gotta go start the fire, hope the woods not to damp, gotta start breakfast, hope the pans are clean, hope we have enough torttias..” and so on.I found myself thinking for the first time, in my perfectly protected easy life, about how money is really most important when it comes to feeding yourself and your family. Life in the shack doesn’t allow you to think about new stylish clothes, or about “drama” in high school, or how much better your life would be with that new “thing”. You live day to day, paycheck by paycheck. This semester we were only paid 300pesos (30 dollars) with deductions for bills and medical we were left with 175 pesos (17.50 $) for food for 2 girls and 3 always hungry teenage boys ( that’s a lot of bellies to fill). We learned that you should eat as much as you can when you had the 3 meals you did , because you never know if the next meal might be smaller , and might not fill you up.There will be so many things from the shack experience that I will take with me, and hope to remember for the rest of my life. One being that food is very important. I don’t think many people I know, including myself appreciate food as much as we should. That was constantly on my mind. Food to me in Canada is ” oh what will taste the best” “what’s the biggest” or you just open the fridge and there it is. But here, as well as most of the world think about if I can afford the next meal, and if its going to fill me, your taste buds are of unimportance.Another thing I know that I take for granted is our health care. For example, a member of our family on the second day got heat stroke, but lucky for us he just got to walk across the street and sleep in our real house and got better. For most people in developing nations, you don’t get to go to a nice bed with cold/warm showers, good food, and clean drinking water to get yourself better. You either have to go to the hospital which is usually 50 pesos (in Mexico) which sometimes isn’t feasible. Or you have to miss a couple days of work which means missing out on pay for is needed for food, bills, and everything else necessary to live.It was unfortunate that we lost a member of our family for a couple days in the shack but I know this realization wouldn’t of hit me as much as it did.Although there was a couple rough patches throughout our experience, what felt like a never ending week, there was a lot of good times and memories. I had some great laughs playing cards at the end of each day, singing in the fields, trying to finish 99 bottles of beer on the wall (never ended up happening), and just being together as a family. I know I had fun, eating, breathing, living Mexican!~ A School of Leadership Student living in Mexico

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 14th, 2010