Just after the first of the month, we began a little project here in the Widhalm house to help us understand a few things about how it might feel to be among the world's poorest people. We've talked a lot about the fact that even though we are not rich by American standards, we are very rich compared to the world as a whole.
Honestly, it has been very hard to curtail our diet as much as I had planned or hoped. We visited my mom's house for about 3 days the first week, where we ate just like we always do at Nana's house. We've had company over for dinner, made a second trip back to Nana's and had an early Christmas celebration this weekend. So, in the area of food I have completely failed. This was not a good month for a huge change in our diet. I should've taken more time to plan before we dove in. Maybe next time.
We have accomplished a couple of the smaller projects I wanted to do. The first one was a laundry experiment. My boys routinely help with sorting dirty laundry and helping with the folding and putting away of clean clothes. However, after a short lesson and some research about what doing laundry looks like in the poorest of countries, we gave hand washing a try.
I ran some water in the bathtub and gave them each one pair of pants and one shirt to wash with a bar of soap. For the first little bit, they had fun and thought it was cool. That attitude didn't last too long, though. It was about 5 minutes or so before they started complaining of hurting hands and boredom. They kept scrubbing, though, until I thought they sort of had the idea. Then came the rinsing....which didn't bring nearly as much relief as they had hoped. It was quite a chore to get everything rinsed and rung out. Along the way, we talked about how many, many children do laundry all day instead of going to school so that they might earn enough money to help their family survive. Jackson did really ponder that for a while and seemed genuinely thankful that he didn't have to live that way.
Project number 2 was carrying water. We filled a 5 gallon bucket with water and explained how there are millions and millions of people who don't have a water source nearby and therefore are forced to carry water long distances for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Of course, with the bucket full neither of the boys could carry it. We emptied it out until Jackson could lift it and it was only about 1/3 full. We walked around our block having the boys take turns carrying. Jackson did fairly well but Carter really struggled. Half way around the block, Jackson was struggling, too, and our pace wasn't much faster than a snail's. We emptied out more water and by the time we finally made it back to the house, we had maybe 15-20% of a bucket. When I told Jackson he was going to have to make that trip another 8-10 times just so we could have water for the day, he nearly started to cry. Of course, we didn't make him but it was a good lesson, I think.
I took pictures that I hope to post soon. I'm having a little technical difficulty with my photo editing software.
I would like to get in another project or two before the month is over, but I'm honestly not sure it will happen. A few things have come up that we are having to deal with that are a little higher on the priority scale. If not this month, we'll pick it up again later.