Thursday, March 24, 2016

Step Into My Shoes

For the past couple of years, I've been hosting a couple of family nights at our local CC community each year.  Typically they have been historical in nature going along with the time period we are studying and learning about - but recently, I suggested something different and wanted to share in case any of you were interested in trying it out! 

Over a year ago, I had an opportunity to send for the Step Into My Shoes kit put together by Compassion International. I am always eager to learn about opportunities like this that give my kids real experience in serving and understanding the lives of others. And, I have a long-standing appreciation for the work of Compassion since I became a sponsor probably twenty years ago and now we as a family have three sponsor children.

Step Into My Shoes is set up to be an interactive and informative experience that shows your family and/or friends what life is like in another country and explores the question, "How much is enough?"

We walked through this one Friday night recently and I'm so sad I forgot my camera! Here are some of the things we participated in:

Each family was assigned a "job" and income for the evening. Several were unemployed and we talked about the difficulty of that reality. The kit comes with a DVD that has several four-minute videos to show throughout your experience. We watched a couple of the introductory videos and learned from some African children how to make a soccer ball out of plastic grocery bags and twine. That was our first activity.

There was good discussion regarding things we learned about Africa and the average daily income compared to Americans. We talked about what you would be able to afford at the market or not based on what job your family had been assigned. 

We looked at a pitcher of water with dirt in it and considered aloud all the work involved in walking to collect it, carrying it home, boiling it and then using it for various household tasks. I set up a hand-washing station with a bowl of water and bar of soap and we also had a laundry washing area where children could try their hand at washing towels in a bin of water with a bar of soap and then hanging things on a rope clothesline. 

Families talked together about things they enjoy doing together and we watched our host family {on the DVD} to see what they enjoyed doing together. One thing they mentioned was roasting corn, so we served popcorn for this part.

It was eye opening to see how far families walk for water and the video mentioned one water jug weighs about 44 pounds when full of water. We brought a forty-pound weight for children to lift and get a realistic idea of how heavy that really is. I got gallons of water and set them up outside requiring children from each family to go collect water for their own family. 

Strips of fabric were provided for tying around wrists, pony tails or even on key rings to remember to pray for those we were learning about. A 10'x10' house area was taped off on the floor to create a visual display of common home size.

The last thing we did was enjoy a meal together - families had signed up to bring rice and/or beans. We had a chapati making station with dough provided by a couple of moms and children rolled out their own and cooked on an electric skillet or griddle. 

It was a great experience to, even in a small way, immerse ourselves in another culture and lifestyle for the evening and bring some great visual reminders of what life is like for others.

I didn't pay anything for my kit and thought it was an experience very worth spending time and energy on as a family and community. Honestly, since it was over a year ago - I don't even remember how I got it for free but I read about the opportunity somewhere. The kit is now available with a monetary donation and would be a great option to consider with your family or church group!

Have any of you tried this or ever heard about Step Into My Shoes before?


Little Penpen said...

Never heard of it, but what a humbling experience that we all need to think about.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

I have heard of something similar. How neat. This would be such a great thing to experience. Blessings.

Mom said...

This is such a good idea and I'm glad it was successful for your group.