Get a Real Taste of Real. Life.

Replica of village in Uganda for displaced personsWhile some people spend their mornings wondering if they should have a second latte or gossiping about the latest episode of their fave TV shows or grumbling about the stain on the seat in their SUV, others are thinking about whether or not they’ll get to eat today or wondering if today’s the day they get raped while searching for water and firewood.

What’s it like to live under such conditions? Medical Teams International in Tigard has created a “multi-sensory” exhibit which allows those of us who live the relative good life to get a taste of what real life is like for others around the world. MTI has created the Real. Life. Exhibit, which features 14 rooms, each a realistic depiction of a different location. The exhibit includes sights, sounds and even smells and is meant to educate others about “international humanitarian issues, global health concerns and socio-economic topics.” The different locations include a 25-foot tsunami wave poised to crash down; a filthy, smelly garbage dump in Mexico where families live and work; a camp for Ugandans displaced by rebels; a village where HIV and AIDS have claimed lives; a refugee camp; a burn unit in a children’s hospital; a medical triage clinic; and a placement center for abandoned children.

According to Bas Banderzalm, president of Medical Teams International, “We hope people will be touched by what they see and hear, but most of all, we hope they will be moved to act. Those who tour this exhibit will have an opportunity to learn how they can make a difference.”

Local media has featured a couple of stories on the exhibit, such as here and here.

The exhibit has specific and limited hours of operation, and groups over 10 need to make an appointment. You can view the exhibit at MTI’s headquarters, which is at 14150 SW Milton Court, Tigard, OR. (See map & directions.) The exhibit is open at least through June 14 (I’m not sure when the last day to visit is.) Note: According to MTI, the exhibit is appropriate only for mature middle schoolers and older.

The exhibit’s website also offers lesson plans and activity ideas for teachers and group leaders.

If you’ve not had a chance to travel the world and experience what life is like for way too many people, be sure to check out this exhibit.

~ Marsha