Documentary review: Living on One Dollar

17 Sep

Living on One Dollar (2013) is a documentary about four college students who travel to Guatemala to try to understand poverty by living among the poor and learning from them how to survive and how poverty can actually be eradicated. Although most of it is in English, I still think it is very valuable for any Spanish course or classroom, as you get to experience what is it to live as a seasonal worker and learn about Guatemala’s poorest people, their circumstances, struggles, but also their sense of community and shared happiness, despite everything. It can teach us how we take for granted so much of our daily life, including most basic things, like the water we drink or a simple floor. And it also can show young people how they can help change the world, like these young kids did.

The two main creators, Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple, are in a tour this Fall, bringing their story to college campuses, and we are lucky enough to have them at Sacred Heart University tomorrow. But they also have an amazing website,, with many educational resources. For this semester, they have launched what they call the “Change Series” and they will be releasing during the coming months several short clips, accompanied by resources, covering the following topics: water, nutrition, education, employment, finance, disaster and what to do when you get back home.

Here’s the first clip of the series:

Each clip comes with additional resources, such as articles or more videos. They also have set up a special Edmodo account to follow the series there, or you can receive their newsletter with more info. I’m thinking these videos can also be used to complement AP units. For example, the second video in the series can be used with the unit already created by the College Board for Water: El Agua es Vida.

For now, you can only see the full documentary if you book a screening for your school or community through IndieFlix (which is actually another nice website to find international movies), but I’m sure that will change when their tour is over.

As always, let me know what you think or if you know of similar projects.

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