This week LiveDifferent Academy students will be walking in the shoes of their Mexican neighbours. They have gathered cardboard and plastic from the streets and received some gifts of wood and tarps from a friend. With these they have used the tee-pee design of their Canadian indigenous people to make a home to protect themselves from the wind and rain for a week. During the building process they have already gained a new appreciation for creativity of the small houses of people they have come to know and love. A few weeks ago if a nail bent when they were building Hero Holiday houses, they would toss it aside and grab a new nail. Yesterday they carefully straightened the nail and re-used it.
For a week they will be learning about the daily in’s and out’s of life for many of the migrant families that have moved to Baja California, Mexico looking for work. They will be working common jobs such as picking strawberries, clamming, fencing and picking landscaping rocks from the beach. Meal planning, shopping and cooking will take on a whole new meaning as they learn to live on the same wage of twelve dollars per day as the people they will working alongside.
But this experience is about so much more than learning how to cook on a fire, do laundry by hand or learning how to pick the perfect strawberries to be shipped to Canadian grocery stores. And that’s why they have chosen the word ‘ubuntu’ as their team name. This South African concept is described by Desmond Tutu as recognizing that our humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in each other’s humanity. I am because we are. A person with ubuntu knows that they belong in a greater whole and that they are diminished when others are humiliated or diminished. And so we seek to understand what life is like for people who have not been born into the opportunities we take for granted as Canadians. We want to show solidarity and that we appreciate how and where our landscaping rocks and fresh strawberries come from. And we seek to understand how we can make changes in our world so that our friends around the globe will know that their lives, like ours, hold great value.