Living On One Dollar

As most know, we are an extremely frugal, non-wasteful family. We buy what we need, sometimes what we want, and rarely splurge. One of our only monthly splurges lately has been Netflix. The cheapest viewing option, of course, but a splurge for us none-the-less.

I’m slowly settling in to this mom thing and learning to allow myself more “me” time, so instead of running around like a crazy person trying to get anything and everything done while Opal is napping, I stretch out on the couch, grab a hot cup of coffee, and tune into Netflix. I don’t watch anything other than documentaries and the occasional, selective movie, (in my opinion, modern television is absolutely ridiculous), but I’m learning something, so I don’t feel as guilty about sitting on my behind for 15, 30, or if I’m lucky, 45 minutes. (We were not blessed with a napper.)

Yesterday, I just finished watching the documentary, Living On One Dollar. The stage is four college students that made the trek to a rural village in Guatemala to live in extreme poverty, as the natives do, on an average of $1 a day, for 56 days. I was unsure if I actually wanted to watch the film at first. There is a lot of “like” this and “like” that, and every other word, “like, like, like.” Seriously, one of my pet peeves. But once the boys really started interacting with the villagers (two of them spoke fluent Spanish), and began revealing their struggles, and how they show love for their families and for their community, I was swept to Guatemala.

The part that I am still reeling over in my mind is the love each member of the village has for their neighbors. They are one, big, 300 member extended family. The love extends beyond the occasional ‘Hi. Let’s have dinner.’ They do something that requires an immense amount of trust and genuine love. Friends get together and form, what they call, a savings club. In the film, one community member and 12 of his friends each save $12 per month. At the end of the month, one person from the group will receive the $144 from the group. They continue each month until every member has received a $144 lump sum. This is how they buy big-ticket items such as stoves for cooking or pay for events like weddings. Wow. First, just the list of things scrolling through my head that come standard in my apartment. But most importantly, I am just blown away at the ingenuity, the generosity, and the love. Could you imagine asking your circle of friends to throw money into a pot, just for it to go to someone else with an undetermined amount of time until you see your return? Most of the people I know would instantly be skeptical with a quick “no.” Shoot, I can think of at least one that would run off with the money, never to be heard from again. A few would do it, but the waiting for their turn would get the best of them.

It really makes me evaluate what it means to be a neighbor and the give and take that comes with truly being a part of a community.

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