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I heard about a movie that Whole Foods helped to finance, and now part of an organization called Living on One. It’s called…”Living on One Dollar a Day,” and goes something like this:

I think more than anything, I really enjoyed seeing the Guatemalan countryside and it’s people.  It’s been over seven years since I’ve been back to Guate, and seeing this made me really sad that I haven’t been able to go back.  I loved seeing the familiarity of the faces, the colors, and the landscapes.  It also made me hope that someday I can support local charities in Guatemala that promote education– the Guatemalan version of Haiti Scholarships ;)

The short movie, which is streaming now on Netflix, was entertaining and interesting, but like all things relating to development, the issues they addressed are far more complex than they gave them credit for.  As one commentator mentioned in the youtube comments (I know, I know, most of those are garbage…), “extreme poverty” to you and me might not mean extreme poverty to indigenous people.  The commentator made a point that there is nothing wrong with farming and weaving being your source of income, but I guess where this becomes problematic is when an individual doesn’t want to be a farmer or a weaver, but is forced to because they can’t afford an education.

Someone also commented that this film looked like a long ad for micro finance, which it seemed like to me too.  There was one scene where it actually had me researching who financed the film, haha.  But I still think it gives some great basic insight into microfinance and how the idea works: one very small loan can help people go pretty far.

My own initial thoughts as the movie started were, “huh, I wonder if that’s kind of insulting.”  You know, I actually-have-a-really-comfortable-home-and-plenty-of-food, but-I’m-gonna-come-to-your-house-and-pretend-like-I-don’t-so-I-can-try-to-understand-how-shitty-your-life-is-compared-to-mine.  I feel like that criticism can be said of a lot of humanitarian or international aid work-there will always be a cynic about everything, regardless of how well intentioned the work is.  With projects like these though, I think the main goal is to simply bring awareness to other people viewing it that there are less fortunate people out there.  You and I might already know this, but there are a lot of people in our world that really have no clue how well they have it.  And for those people, this really simple look and comparison could be eye-opening.

So, in short, watch it, know there’s a lot more to it, maybe do some research of your own, and tell me what you think!