Gary: What if you only had one dollar, and it had to last you a full 24 hours?
Documentary Voice: Thank you all for coming out to the bus.
Gary: Well, that is what the documentary Living on One Dollar is all about.
Documentary Voice: We all kind of got destroyed on our dirt floors. I can’t sleep another night like this.
Gary: Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple are college students studying the economics of poverty. But they wanted to get some real world experience and see what it is like living with the poorest of the world’s poor. So they began a journey with their two filmmaker friends to rural Guatemala.
Guatemala is a small country in Central America, directly south of Mexico.
Documentary Voice: Hey, we have a water source! Sean, you should check this out.
Gary: So, would these Americans be unprepared for this trip?
Chris Temple: Yeah, unprepared is an understatement. I remember that first morning, I woke up on a dirt floor having been bitten by fleas all night and Zach had been already sick the night before throwing up. And it was our first day.
Gary: This was the first day in a 56-day crash course on extreme poverty. Most of their neighbors survive on just a dollar a day – that includes food, firewood, paying for school and emergencies.
Chris: I mean, we knew from the beginning we’d never be able to truly replicate poverty.
Zach Ingrasci: We wanted to be that bridge so that, you know, people that don’t even normally engage with these issues could actually be a part of this journey.
Gary: They began posting videos of their experience on YouTube, and they soon went viral. And those videos caught the attention of people in Hollywood.
Documentary: This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!
Gary: Soon, their student project turned into a festival-worthy film, following them through the ups, and the many, many downs.
Documentary Voice: We woke up and it was market day and we literally have no money.
Zach: Two weeks into this experience, you know, we were having a really hard time.
Documentary Voice: I’ve almost passed out ,like, today probably, like, three times.
Chris: I had a parasite in my stomach and was constantly sick, about thirty times during one night.
Gary: But these two didn’t quit. Eventually, they met Anthony and Rosa Solares, who have more than most of their neighbors. They feed a household of eight with ten dollars a day. And they reached their financial status by microfinancing – tiny loans of a few hundred dollars that enabled Rosa to start a business and buy a better stove.
Chris and Zach brought their journey back home to the one of the world’s richest countries to show what it is like on the other side.
Zach: This is a movie about poverty and we’ve filled a room of 500 people. Thank you guys!
Audience Member: It was inspiring because it came through their story. And I love it that it was through their eyes, how they experienced poverty. And the fact that it’s so authentic.
Gary: These college students have now moved from Guatemalan floors to a borrowed bus. But it is to promote the movie. And they are asking everyone to lend a helping hand.
Documentary Voice: We ask each and every one of you to consider making a pledge, a commitment to doing one thing, however small, to impact the life of somebody else.
Gary: All they had was one dollar, but what they gained from this experience is priceless.
Gary Hamilton, Channel One News.