Shack Day 1 – Five Pesos to Spare

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Deryn and Josh digging a bano hole We moved into our shack today and started work right away. We did physical work around the yard.  We started around 9am, had lunch break at noon and the work day ended at 3:30pm. Apparently this is a short day of work! All I know is that I was ready to nap during our lunch break! While two people dug a hole for a new outhouse (bano), the rest of us re-fenced the yard. This consisted of ripping old plastic off the sticks used as fence poles and stapling on new plastic. The people doing the fence periodically rotated with those digging the bano hole. In the end the bano hole was at least ten feet deep. We carried the heavy bano structure over from the next yard and put it safely on top.  By the end of the day we had a new bathroom and a repaired fence.Our income for the day was 300 pesos; however by the time we paid our bills and bought groceries for dinner tonight and breakfast and lunch for tomorrow we only had five pesos to spare. It was the most stressful situation ever for me. Based on some requests from the rest of the group Emily and I were the ones doing the shopping today. By doing this I really got a sense of what life could be like for a struggling family (and not only here but anywhere). Standing in a grocery store trying to calculate in my head what the bill will be, how much money we had and worrying if we were getting enough to fill our evening around fire families stomachs. Trying to put a bit of money aside for a day off. And the worries of what if we didn’t have enough money, what would i put back and the embarrassment that goes hand in hand.Even as we sit here by the fire with barely any light left planning our meals and schedules for tomorrow, I cannot help  think  how many people in my neighborhood are thinking along the same lines. Only their worries are much stronger because at the end of this week they don’t get to ‘check out’ and go back to a big sturdy house and worry-free steady meals. We only have five pesos to spare today but when it comes down to it, we are going to be okay.Written by Deryn, a School of Leadership Student

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 22nd, 2011