I thought it worthwhile to give you all an update of my readjustment back into my life in the US. It has been a month since I returned (wow) so what has happened?
           I landed in JFK airport on August 9th, dehydrated and with a considerable amount of stomach pain from a day spent running between my seat and airplane bathrooms. My mom picked me up from the airport exactly 20 pounds lighter and with a few parasitic friends accompanying me. (Not to mention the flea colony living in my backpack) I was immediately put on Anti-bacterials, anti-parasites, and anti-amoebas by my doctor to essentially cleanse my system and "Start over" as he said.
          While I looked forward to the cleansing, it came along with the unfortunate restriction of being unable to eat anything for the subsequent 24 hours, followed up by 3 days of non-other than a diet of Rice, Bananas, Apples, and Toast. (BRAT) I couldn't help but laugh as he told me. To add insult to injury, I walked into my house only to smell fresh peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and a plate of fresh Maine lobsters that my girlfriend had so kindly prepared for me.
        So my mom ate the fresh lobster in front of my eyes and I silently wept... :). Unfortunately, I couldn't help but sneak a cookie against the doctors orders, only to spend my first night back at home sleeping on my bathroom floor! 
         As I had dreamed about for 8 weeks, I spent the majority of my first 10 days back simply eating. All day, and at every opportunity possible. I cant explain it. I would still sneak food when people weren't looking, just because I was scared there might not be enough. I ate a pretty disgusting/impressive amount for a kid weighing 134 pounds with a shrunken stomach. And not once did I ever feel close to full. After 10 days of this new eating disorder and very limited physical exercise, I had gained back 18 pounds. I had been warned about this too, that often times when someone not eating enough food suddenly comes into an influx of it, they end up getting fat... Luckily though, my eating has been subsiding ever since.
          My two worlds between Pena Blanca and Fairfield County, Connecticut could not be more contrasting. I spent the remaining three weeks of my summer teaching private tennis lessons to children around Chinos age, making 60 dollars an hour. In one hour of hitting tennis balls, I made more money than I lived off of for 8 weeks in Guatemala. How am I supposed to rationalize these stark changes in my life? I lived in Pena Blanca for 8 weeks, which to me was an eternity, and felt more real and influential than anything I ever done, but it wasn't my life. I got to leave.  
          I did not try to make this documentary or write this blog telling anecdotal stories about my weight loss so that people would feel bad for me. I'm the luckiest person in the world. I get to walk away with a perspective I never thought attainable and a strength and inspiration that will forever continue to push me. All I am trying to do is to tell, anyone who will watch/listen, a story. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try to live the reality of my neighbors, and I want to share our findings, the story of their struggle and their growth, with all of you.
         I know it might not seem so sometimes, but I swear I am a pretty normal college going kid who just thought of an idea with his friend Zach.  (You can look at my facebook if you don't believe me:) I study economics and have read and seen statistics about how microfinance has helped people, but I wanted to prove it to myself and to my viewers. And as a result of the research, my belief in the potential of this system has increased substantially. If a banking service can come in and provide those who are struggling with opportunities for advancement in a simple and reliable fashion (replacing the unreliable informal sector), then it should be supported.  
           Everybody knows that poverty and starvation exist, but instead of feeling sad about it, lets take 20 minutes or 20 bucks to actually do something, however little. We can support microfinance as it exists, or if it interests us, we should continue to push the boundaries and think about how to make it better. Or pursuing ways of applying our talents and what we are passionate about, to help change the world we live in. Use art to inspire action, use your soccer skills to teach, or use your film skills to make a documentary. (Sean and Ryan didn't know what Microfinance was before coming) :) And if your not feeling creative, then support people and organizations who are, because they exist. And lastly, at the bare minimum, remember to smile.


       
Megan Morris
11/12/2010 19:55:56

Just watched your video highlighted on youtube. Again, great job! I'm proud to have you and Zach as classmates at CMC.

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AJacquelineD
11/13/2010 00:13:33

I watched the video on your website and then read an entry on your blog. And then another entry on your blog. Before I knew it I had ready every blog from you, Zach, Ryan and Sean. There were times I wanted to cry and times that I smiled. Your whole journey is truly fascinating. I commend you all.

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Stephanie
11/13/2010 11:20:12

You do not have to leave the USA to find people living on a dollar a day.

When my family and I were living in northern California, we lived on a dollar a day.

We had 830$ a month, and our rent was 800 a month. It was one man, and one pregnant woman.

We ate rice and beans with salt every day.

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Shell
11/14/2010 00:16:12

You were the guy on my google page...wow. What a trip.

I couldn't find you on facebook to verify that you are a "normal" college kid. Your definition of normal must be different than most. Based on your experience, you are hardly typical.

What was your motivation? Experience? Knowledge? God?



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Jades
11/14/2010 15:30:07

Wow, Fantastic. Our church in my town has done something similar, yet on a much smaller scale, for two years now. Your ideas and actions are commendable, but now there is a chance to step it up a bit- A project like yours, in the States. Where the value of the dollar is less, but more realistic to to what some nations experience. Stephanie is right, we have those that live on a dollar a day here, and to experience that would be life morphing.

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Mary
12/24/2010 20:26:53

I love what you did here in Guatemala, near Lake Atitlan.
Today, I was reading the newspapaer about the 4 of you and your story, and I found it very interesting!

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4/29/2011 16:08:27

Hola Chris, cómo estás? Estoy haciendo una nota de ideas reparadoras para la inclusión social e incluí el caso de ustedes en Guatemala y la consecuente política de microcréditos. Podrías enviarme algunas fotos en alta resolución para ilustrar el artículo? Si me enviás un mail te cuento bien de qué se trata la revista (es de Argentina, donde estuvieron hace unas semanas en las conferencias TED) y la nota. Gracias! Saludos, Julia.

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Julia
5/3/2011 21:39:11

I’m a journalist from “Expressions” magazine of American Express. I’m actually writing an article about the most important TED conferencies in the last years. I would like to ask you, if you can send me some pictures in high resolution, specially from you, Chris and Zach, in the Guatemala’s jungle. My e-mail is jgonzalez@drevistaspremium.com

Thank you in advance,

Best regards,

Julia

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5/11/2012 01:36:27

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3/1/2016 16:40:08

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