School of Leadership 2010 – Shack Day # 1
Today was the first day of The Shack Experience. This is where the School of Leadership students try to simulate a first hand physical and emotional experience of living in poverty. For seven days they live in a shack that they built themselves out of cardboard, sticks and other scrap that they have found on the streets. The wake up early in the mornings, start a fire, make breakfast, make a lunch and head off to work for they day. They walk to where a bus would normally pick up workers, and that is where I meet them and take them to their jobs. Each day the students have a different job that is typical for the local Mexican people. All jobs are hard labor and offer very little satisfaction upon completion. They will be spending a day working in the fields picking strawberries, a day sorting through river rocks and packaging the nice ones, a day clam digging in the ocean and also a day cleaning out a bean field.Today was their first day, they woke up at 5:00am, prepared for the week and were at their shacks by 6:00am. They walked 3kms to drop of their pretend children at school and then met me at the highway. I took them down to the beach and they spent the first few hours loading the truck full of rocks so they could later place them in different areas around the yard. After a few loads of that, they were able to have a lunch break and then right back to work. A few of them swept our large drive way, others sorted through nails, others dug a trench. At 4:00 pm, I drove them back to the highway, gave them their pay and off to the grocery store they went to buy food for supper, breakfast and lunch. After all of their pay deductions for the day, like rent, school supplies, and water bills, they were only left with approximately $15 for food for all five of them. They ate a bit of spaghetti for supper and then got ready for bead. They said they were pretty worn out from the day. Partially due to the heat but mostly they were not used to the work. I think they are looking forward to the challenge that is ahead of them. They seem pretty excited about the days to come.