The Hun School hosted an evening screening of the award-winning documentary Living on One Dollar and founder of the Living on One Foundation Chris Temple on Tuesday, January 6th. The film follows four college students (including Mr. Temple) who spent fifty-six days in rural Guatemala, living on $1 a day in an effort to simulate and understand the challenges of extreme poverty. The screening took place in the recently opened Wilf Family Global Commons and served as the introductory event to the new Global and Immersion Programs and part of the School’s annual speaker series.
“Through his work with the Living on One Dollar project, Chris Temple is a living example of the global proficiency skills that are so important in today’s interconnected world,” said Pauline McKean, director of Global and Immersion Programs. “What a wonderful opportunity it was for the Hun community to hear from a peer who has embraced diversity and demonstrates a passion to understand and learn from other cultures.”
Mr. Temple and his friends struggled with hunger, exhaustion, and illness while living in a traditional mud hut in Peña Blanca, a small village of 300 in Guatemala. An economics major, Mr. Temple set out to explore the complexities of extreme poverty from a finance perspective. However, just two weeks into the trip, through intimate interviews with his neighbors and first-hand experience of the physical and emotional challenges of their way of life, Mr. Temple and his friends found themselves on an emotional journey. The experience bonded them to their neighbors in unexpected ways and inspired the documentary film, Living on One Dollar.
“We have so much to learn from these communities of extremely impoverished people – from their work ethic to their generosity and sense of community. Living on $1 a day takes incredible resourcefulness and strength.”
Through perseverance and a community bank specializing in micro financing, Mr. Temple was able to secure a small loan. The men rented a small plot of land and farmed radishes. Using similar loans, their neighbors started small businesses live weaving and farming. Living on One Dollar follows their journey and that of a young woman named Rosa, whose weaving business ultimately funded her education. Today, Rosa is on her way to becoming a nurse.
“Poverty can seem like an overwhelming problem without a simple solution,” said Mr. Temple. “For us, micro finance was an example of how a small change can make a big impact in someone’s life and can do so in a dignified and sustainable way.”
During classroom visits, Mr. Temple discussed his experiences living in poverty with economics students, environmental science students, and students of the leadership seminar. He explained how he battled Giardia and E-Coli – and the devastating effect unexpected illness can have on household finances. He described how he and his crew made difficult decisions about budgeting and the challenges they faced to repay their loan and save.
Mr. Temple explained, “There are more people in this world living above the poverty line, than below it. Each individual can affect and help a single other individual. We can change the world.”
To Hun School students, he said, “So, get out there. Experience the world. Get outside your comfort zone and dare to fail.”
The Hun School’s Global and Immersion Programs kick off this year with guest speakers and trips to China, Ecuador, Blackfeet Nation, and the Florida Keys. The Centennial Speaker Series welcomes thought leaders and experts from all over the world, each year. Click here to read more