Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple, co-producers and creators of “On A Dollar A Day”, a Netflix documentary, visited Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
The two speakers spoke about their experience in Guatemala where they, as well as two of their friends, lived off of about a dollar a day for 56 days. As sophomores in college coming from Connecticut and Seattle, they wanted to experience having to live on a dollar a day like 1.1 billion people around the world.
“I had no idea what it actually felt like to be starving,” said Temple.
Temple and Ingrasci spoke about the difficulties they had, from not being able to access clean water, food, and shelter, to getting diseases like E.Coli. After diminished health and extreme weight loss due to the poor conditions, Temple and Ingrasci were able to truly understand the struggle of the people of Pena Blanca, where poverty was an extreme issue.
“I was between Sean [best friend from home] and Chris, and I had to ask myself if it was really worth it,” said Ingrasci.
It was the people that they met along the way that helped to push them through it. Chino and Rosa were two of the main people who helped them to move past their adversities.
Chino was a boy who worked to make money for his family. He gave up schooling and took on the dream of being a farmer, like his father. Rosa, on the other hand, was a woman who wanted to become a nurse, so she sold handmade weavings to help her pay for school.
“Spending time with Chino, the kids, and their families,” said Ingrasci, “those were the moments that the trip was about.”
Chino now is working close to 100 hour weeks selling dog food to help send his brother to school and making more money than his parents. Rosa is the first to graduate high school and has taken up a job as a school nurse to help the children and others of the village treat and avoid sicknesses.
After viewing their journey, Ingrasci stated that he wanted SNHU students and faculty to realize “if you take a risk and you do something, especially in college, it can end up changing your life or someone else’s for the positive.
Temple reaffirmed this stating, “I think again and again when we take that risk and are inspired to create a solution and create an action, amazing things can happen.”
Q: How was your experience overall?
After recalling their experiences, Temple and Ingrasci spoke about their most recent work at a Syrian refugee camp, where they lived like the refugees to see what it was like.
They are continuing their efforts to raise awareness for the homeless and the starving people in the world. By spreading their message of #LivingOnOne, even though there is no one solution to poverty, Temple and Ingrasci can continue to help people and raise awareness for their causes.
Temple urged everyone to take action, to ffind what they are passionate about and pursue it. From this, he said, “I learned patience. The belief that something really small can have such a big and lasting change on someone’s life is a really profound impact. It goes for both of our lives as well as trying something new, like selling Rosa’s t-shirts on our website. It started a large impact on someone’s life. [I don’t] underestimate how doing something small for someone’s life, even if it’s just taking the time to ask someone how their day was. It can really make an impact.”