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Living on One Dollar (2013) — GuatemalaLiving on One Dollar (2013) — Guatemala

By Dan Clendenin

           The next time you feel sorry for yourself, or are mired in First World Problems, try this reality therapy. Watch this 56-minute documentary film made by two college kids. Chris and Zach, buddies at Claremont McKenna College, were studying international development, and decided that an eight-week field trip might be more instructive than mere textbooks. They moved to Peña Blanca, a rural village of about 300 mainly Mayan people in Guatemala. There they lived on one dollar a day, like a billion people in our world do out of necessity. They don't patronize their subjects with pity, or romanticize their poverty. They experienced poverty to be not only hard but very complicated — a smoking stove or leaky roof can cause huge problems. Yes, they got sick, lethargic from a poor diet, and horrible bug bites. Their takeaway? The "power of partial solutions" in which small changes can make a big impact. Not a bad way to spend your college summer. I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.

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