The Charlie 1 challenge

3rd April 2014


This week all the groups were tasked with setting themselves a challenge; to learn a bit more about the way the people in their local communities live.  Each Charlie group decided what that challenge would be and have told us about their experiences in this weeks blog posts.  Here are Charlie 1...

We decided our charlie challenge this week would be our work experience days; working with the local community in a local cafe and on a sunflower farm. We split into groups and woke bright and early ready for our days work on the respective jobs. The farm was huge and the first challenge we faced was telling the difference between the sunflowers and the weeds! "It was quite stressful as we could have hoed the wrong crop" said one of our group.

There’s no fancy equipment on the farm so we soon found out how hard hoeing in the sun really is. The farmer explained how he has to break at 12pm each day as the heat gets too much.  He only has a small opportunity to hoe each day due to the weather and the heat. 

The café was well run, with the staff starting to cook at 7am.  Making lots of jappis and mardais through the day on a small fire can get stressful, not like the industrial cookers we have in the UK.  For the lady in the café it’s an everyday way of life.

We had thought that would be our main challenge this week until Saturday evening when we were told very casually by Harold, the water man, that our only source of clean water was being turned off for 3 days. We got a plan together quickly and some of the team went to collect 3 days worth of water in 1 hour. We had to limit our water use during the time the pump was switched off so we decided that there would be no washing clothes, aswell as ourselves for the entire 3  days.


The hardest thing about the challenge was not being able to wash.  It was really hard to adapt to not having enough water and made us realise how much water we use in everyday life.  The community are all really well organised witrh regards to their water usage and can only collect it on a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday throughout the week, whereas the community have been letting our group collect it everyday.

This challenge really changed the groups perceptions of water usage and how much we could save if we thought about it more.  We realised how wasteful we have been with our water and what a precious resource it is, especially in the Mayamaya community.  As a result we are all now much more careful not to waste water and have decided to collect it less often from the pump.

Reality is for charlie 1 we will get water again but for some Mayamaya villagers they face this dilemma each day when they don’t have enough money to pay for the water or are too ill to walk the long distance to collect it. The Charlie 1 challenge is for 3 days but for people in developing countries it’s everyday.

C1 group