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S4 Crossroads Excursion

4J Andrew Lam

Growing up in a privileged family, rarely have I thought about extreme poverty. It is something that I had not experienced nor anticipated to ever come across. Through the excursion experience at Crossroads International where we took part in the Struggle for Survival experiential learning simulation, I realized that poverty is closely related to our lives, and the actual difficulties faced by those living in poverty are often overlooked.

During the excursion, we participated in a game that required us to fold paper bags and sell them to earn money to live. Although we worked diligently, it was impossible to cover costs of daily necessities which included things as simple as water, food, and a roof to live under. This experience has helped me to more empathetically consider the circumstances of those that are living in poverty. There have always been criticisms from developed economies towards third world countries regarding issues of human rights and environmental protection.

Take selling your kids as an example, while it is simple to say that it materializes and devalues humans, when selling your child guarantees their survival, it seems to me that this action, which is cruel from a bystander’s perspective, is completely rational and done out of love. The excursion experience provided me with insights into the reasons for such acts, and to realize my ignorance. This excursion has brought an experience so different from our daily life, so close to us. This is precisely the knowledge that could not be learnt in a classroom but could only be experienced.

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