Trapped in the cycle

Friday, 25 November 2016   ::   Spain

hopd20582A simulation was held onboard Logos Hope in the port of Las Palmas, Spain to raise awareness of poverty around the world. Attendees were split into ‘family’ units and instructed to make a living for themselves by making bags from newspapers, then selling them. They were also confronted with series of unpredictable situations, from a hurricane to a terrorist attack, and an evacuation from their community.

The exercise was made even more realistic by the language barrier between many of the crewmembers and the participants. “You see the frustration in their face due to the language barrier,” said Stian Haberg (Norway), who played the role of shopkeeper. “They’re trying to make life easier for themselves, but I don’t speak Spanish, and so on top of the lack of money and resources, it just adds to their frustration because we can’t communicate.”

After getting trapped in human trafficking during the simulation, one local female participant said, “Someone came to my house and offered me a good job, but when I got there, everything was a lie. They told me I couldn’t go back to my family, and I felt deceived. This is what people experience every day.”

The experience was a learning opportunity for both crewmembers and participants. Sebastian Kumpf (Germany) played the role of a drug dealer and was shocked by the reactions of some people, saying, “It’s surprising how much people are willing to do, even resorting to illegal means like dealing drugs, just to get money in the simulation.”

“I mentioned to my group that it feels impossible to get out of the cycle,” said one local participant during debriefing.

“I feel truly restless,” said another local attendee. “I can’t live in peace, knowing that people live like this while I live differently.”

This empathetic reaction was what the seminar’s facilitators hoped to see in the participants. More than just feeling pity for the hardships of others, Logos Hope’s crew hopes that those who attended the event will have a changed outlook on the world around them, because they now have been in someone else’s shoes and experienced a little of how it feels to be trapped in the cycle of poverty.