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5th Graders experience Global Gateway with Heifer International

Global1 Temperatures dropped to the 40’s, the rain trickled in as the wind whipped it around, and we were literally sleeping on a dirt floor. Yet, amid the discomfort, six of the New Hope students I shared the Zambian-style hut with were giggling and playing Uno.

We left the 5th the Global Village – Heifer International with nothing clean. However, as one 5th devotional book,

“I have to appreciate what we have, and [that] I changed what I think of people.” – Taylor

The Global Gateway is Heifer International’s (heifer.org) simulation of life in Guatemala, Zambia, Tibet, Thailand, Appalachia, urban slums around the world, and refugee camps around the world. During the 3-day, 2-night stay in realistic living conditions of each country, students received resources based on the relative-wealth of their “home country” experience. Students also completed chores and responsibilities as if they lived in their assigned country. Goats were milked, food was composted, dishes were washed far from the hearth where meals were cooked.

Global2We prepared meals from the local recipes of our home country. Zambia had the most delicious Nshima with collard greens and a peanut sauce. Heifer ensures “as in the real world, there are enough resources for all.” However, students experienced how inequitable distribution of resources looks and feels.

I’m not sure anyone was comfortable. As evidenced by our debriefing time before we returned home, though, everyone were changed. I learned that what I call cleanliness is such a luxury. I appreciate what I have differently. Malique said he learned that “arguing solves nothing.” Daja said she was “emotionally challenged, but her friends helped her through it. She was thankful to be experiencing this even though it’s hard.”