Your challenge is to trace the origins of something you own, trying to find someone in a foreign country who actually helped create it.
Step 1: Focus on an item that you own that has a global history. Try to calculate the “true cost” of that item by tracing its journey backwards through the commodity chain. Try to answer the following questions:
- Who sold it to you?
- How did it get to the place of sale? (distribution)
- Who assembled the item? (production)
- Where did the raw materials come from and how were they extracted? (extraction)
- What were the costs to the people and environment along this journey?
Step 2: Your ultimate goal is to actually meet someone who helped produce the item in a foreign country. This will be very difficult, but the attempt will demonstrate just how much our connections to other people in the world are hidden from us. If successful, ask them to take a picture of themselves with the item they help create. If you are successful, post the image to instagram with #anth101 #anth101challenge8 #humansofourstuff #yourgroupname Include your analysis of “the true cost” from step 1 in your post.
Step 3: If you failed in Step 2, do one of the following to increase your empathy and understanding of the people who helped create the item you now own. Post a picture or video of you doing this using #anth101 #anth101challenge8 #yourgroupname
- Talk to somebody from or in a developing country. You can contact the International Student Center to find someone or work through your own personal networks to see if you can find somebody. Talk to them about the issues you have been learning about in this lesson and report what you find out.
- OR Find a large jug or bucket and fill it with 5 gallons of water. Try to carry it 1 mile, a typical daily activity for those living on less than $2/day.
- OR live for a day on $2/day without any use of electricity or running water. You may walk to the nearest location to use public water and toilet facilities and can spend up to $2 on food for the day.