Yesterday was Global Awareness Simulation here at KIVU. We placed campers in 10 different cities around the world, gave them relevant tasks to their particular country, created places of school, church, and work, and gave them a chance to simulate life in a foreign place. American cities were overscheduled and always busy. But they were given time to vacation and time to go on mission trips. Those living in developing countries were given much more space and much less of a crammed schedule. But they had to prepare goods for the market, haul their own water, and went to school where they received their only good meal for the day.
At the end of the day, we all got together to see how everyone’s experience was. Our intention was to peal students eyes open to the world around them. We wanted them to see that there is good and bad, beauty and struggle, in all places around the globe, both rich and poor. Through this simulation, students can FEEL the emotions of those challenges rather than simply understand the concept intellectually. We hope it is a first step for many students in beginning to belong to the world around them. To look outside of their neighborhood to their city. To look outside of their country to other nations.
Here are some of their insights from the students I found to be fascinating:
“I couldn’t believe how much resentment I felt towards the Americans just for the amount of money they had.” --from a developing country
“I was shocked when the church service was run by a group of foreigners who really talked down to me like I was a five year old. I felt belittled even though they came to give us a positive message with good intentions.” --from a developing country
“I was shocked at how much money we spent all day. The moment we had money we would immediately use it.” ---from an American city
“I felt no sense of accomplishment and felt worthless after having a crowded schedule and always busy doing things.” ---from an American city
“It was amazing how we immediately adopted a mindset that the poorer countries around us were people we did not want to mingle with.” --from an American city
“I realized that for many people, they do not have the luxury of leaving their country for any reason. And if their resources are limited, they may feel forced to bend the rules of the law simply to provide for their family.” ---from a developing country
“I was surprised at how much fun, relaxation, and community was felt by those of us with a more relaxed schedule in the developing countries. We had time for each other. We enjoyed being together. We valued time as how it was spent with each other and not how we would try to use time to be efficient, productive, and always busy” ---from a developing country
“I was from an American city that just ‘chilled and hung out’ a lot. After doing that 4-5 times in a day, I got bored. Then I realized there is so much happening in the world around me and I’m just getting bored over my selfish desire to just hang out.” --from an American city
“I found out that our city started with $20,000 in the bank. And then I later found out that some other developing countries were starting with 50 cents to their name. What is up with that!!!??? We spent $20,000 in one day on vacations, good education, mission trips, and good meals while another country nearby didn’t even get lunch! What is up with that?!” ---from an American city
“I realized that we had to work really hard simply to make ends meet. We had to prepare enough unique crafts to sell at the market so we would have enough money to buy dinner.” --from a developing country
“I realized that it is time for me to travel on a mission trip. I know that there is another world outside of America and I need to be a part of it in some way.” --from a developing country
“I realized that there are a lot of beautiful things about the lives of those who live in poorer countries. They have each other. They create amazing community. They take care of each other and unite.” --from a developing country
“I started to wonder if I mistreat or talk down to the people I go to serve on mission trips. I hope that I don’t sound like someone who knows it all and demean the people I am coming to serve. Just because I have more material possessions in America does not mean that I am better than them.” --from a developing country