“Look outside your window,” I spat out dramatically, pointing a condemning finger at the glass aperture that gave view to the auditorium below, “India is starving; it’s people are dying of disease, it’s crops are being destroyed, my family is barely surviving! And yet, here you are, refusing to share your resources with others. You won’t even give me a loan!”
The entire student body was participating as families in a simulation of a poor Indian village. Some were given land, some were landless, and still others were considered outcasts. We had to work to survive, grow crops, battle diseases, and marry off our children. After only a “few years” into the game, my family and I were staring death in the face. Battered with disease, poverty, and the threat of total annihilation, I ran upstairs to beg for a loan.
I fell to my knees before the cruel and brutal money-lenders (a wealthy and arrogant family of ruthless individuals), but I learned exceedingly quickly that bureaucracy and greed made borrowing money at a fare rate nearly impossible. Dejected and furious, I returned home empty-handed.
Winter games night not only provided an entertaining evening, but an extremely valuable and educational experience. Students were able to see a glimpse of what life at the poverty level was like; what struggling to survive really means. While our game was staged, I solemnly realize that countless people live that life daily. The simulation offered a paradigm shift in the way I view others’ circumstances, as well as my own. It presented numerous lessons I will not soon forget.