Mountain School and global challenges

Published: February 15th 2008
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The third week of language school was at the Mountain School in and area where people struggling with the very basics. At the Mountain School the students stayed together in a home and then eat with local families. By the end of the week I was done with corn tortillas and after three weeks I was looking forward to preparing my own food. The Mountain School was also close to an active volcano and most days we would have a light shower of ash settle on everything.

Living among people who were struggling to meet their basic needs was full of contradictions and challenges knowing that I came from privilege. On one hand I can complain about the bus that went by at 5 am every morning honking their horn and waking me from my sleep on a very thin mattress. Or I could think why the bus was honking, calling people to work, or the hopes of work making (if they were lucky) the daily minimum wage of $8 per day. Coming from a country of privilege or should I say coming as person of privilege the comment so often is how dare they wake me from my sleep and my discomfort on a thin mattress. For me this goes beyond the literal sleep, but how we so often do not want to be awaken from our ignorance of others lives, we want to be blind to how our lifestyle impacts others, we want our very thick mattresses to sink into at night and our big screen TVs during the day to comfort us in the lie that some how we deserve all that we have and that others do not.

Or while in Ecuador, wanting to bring back one of their wonderful thick blankets, but not having enough room because of all of my other purchases. This was then put into the realty of others after noticing that it was possible to buy the blankets on installments. The idea that people could only afford something as basic as a blanket on 4 installment plan, these were not hand made, or artistically woven, they were just very thick warm blankets in a very cold climate.

During the few times I was carrying everything on my back and feeling burdened once again because of the all the stuff I needed and needed to buy and then acknowledging the women with a heavy load on their backs and more on their heads just in the hopes of selling some basics for a little income.

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