This is my first impressions and post about my Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip. It is sponsored by the UT Dallas Student Volunteerism Office and I am in Elm Mott, TX for the week. Yeah, I'll give you a minute to look that up. It's about 20 minutes north of Waco,TX.
I'm placed in the Sustainability group, here to learn about alleviating World Hunger. Here's the org that is housing us.
Cool place with a cool mission, not sure how I'm going to make an impact yet though. Not sure how I'll be able to survive this week as well.
Prepping for this trip
See, I had to sign up for this trip way back in December. I had looked at the ASB program in the past and had heard about it, but I never kept up with the dates. So one day, casually as I was browsing Facebook, I see a post that there are two spots left on the sustainability trip. The only one open at that time. I like the environment and making a conscious effort to do my share to help. Of course, I didn't hesitate to sign-up. I told a few friends, but at the end of the day I was for sure going, they weren't. Yeah, not going to flake on this one like my Cabos trip. I didn't have much information to really prepare for today. I attended a few group meetings and fast-forward to March, here I am.
You see, I have a Saturday Class this semester. It turns out that the day before my ASB trip, I'm trying to study for this one midterm. Also, kind of bummed that I didn't do too hot on it. Like most exams, I was burned out after it. However, less than 12 hours to departure and I haven't started packing yet. There were a couple things that I bought for specially for this trip:
Sleeping Bag: This was a first. See the place said they had cots (more on my accommodation later). Anyways, I was going to get a really crappy one, but then there was this really soft one. So I deliberated, but bought the soft one anyways. Turns out the place we're sleeping has no floor (dirt), no heater, no electricity.
Head Lamp: So Wal-Mart had these sick $1 headlamps. It was only a $1, so I got it. Worst-case, I could use it on my bike as a night light. Turns out this place doesn't have electricity, so that came in handy.
Toothbrush Cover: See, I've always wanted one of these when traveling. I hate putting my toothbrush on counters and stuff. Turns out this comes in really handy when holding your brush.
Ok Ok. So here I am in Elm Mott,TX. I drove because I signed up as the driver. We had lunch at Scholotzyk's (killed that name) and we went to the farm to get a grand tour.
It's really cold today at 40 degrees and we're standing outside. The lady, who is probably British, is telling us about our accommodation. The entire time, I didn't understand why she couldn't do this inside. I mean, it's freezing! I also caught a glimpse of the bathrooms, labeled as the Squatty Potty, the outhouses.
Of course, being myself (half clueless, half aware) walked with the entire group back to a row of boots. Too lazy to find a pair myself, I walked onwards with my Puma's. RIP, those poor soles. We walked through some nasty mud and ankle-deep water to a house on a hill.
The guide told us it was a South African House. This house is just a room with a dirt floor and a metal roof as a rack. There's an outside area in the back for showers. She explains how the windows don't have insect screens and the design helps it stay cool.Very cool indeed, but where were we going to stay for the week?
Our Humble Abode
Yup, South African House was our place for the week. I was in complete dismay. No lights, no electricity and no floor! It's freezing. I mean, the entire time the guide was talking, I was just waiting for her to say, "wait, just kidding, you guys get to stay in the house over there". I mean here were a few of the living conditions:
- Dirt Floors : The actual home itself was barren. I mean, literally, this is a house with concrete bricks and a roof made up of sheet metal.There are a few wooden beams as well. We had a tarp to cover the floor, but that doesn't help with the uneven floor and rocks in the ground. We'll just have to make the best of it. Sleeping will not be easy.
No Actual Shower or Bathroom : So there is no bathroom. Yup. The only bathrooms we have to use are the ones in for the outhouses. I have this habit of drinking a lot of water before bed, but answering nature's call in the middle of the night and trekking to bathroom doesn't seem worth at all. I'll just dehydrate myself before bed I guess.
No Hot Water : She told us to go back inside to fetch hot water. I'm pretty stunned at this point. I'm going to die of hypothermia. Of course, no lights or electricity.
- Wet Grass : So our house is placed on like a hilltop. The grass isn't mowed like your typical home. It's a crazy backyard everywhere. I was planning on going to grab a couple of rocks to build a path leading to the place.
Wrapping the day up
Of course, the weather was cloudy. Showering was not an option. We did make a Wal-Mart run, and I picked up some rain boots! 10/10 would recommend.
Do I have a feeling where I just wanna run back home to my cozy bed? Yes! Nope, not worth. Take me home.
My roommate was right, why would I give up my time to live on this farm?