Prepare yourself to come to the REAL. LIFE. Exhibit
1. What to expect: This experiential exhibit is for mature middle school students, high school students, college students and other adults. It portrays REAL. LIFE. for children affected by disaster, conflict and poverty, and some of that touches deep emotions. Your group will step into several very different places where the volunteers of Medical Teams International serve with our national partners.
- A medical triage clinic at the New Orleans Convention Center after Hurricane Katrina.
- A room with a 25-foot tsunami wave, along with stories and drawings made by children who survived the tsunami.
- A Ugandan camp for people displaced by a terrorist group that abducts children and forces them into their “army.”
- A Haitian earthquake site and a tent camp where homeless Haitians are living.
- A Mozambiquan village compound where HIV and AIDS has ravaged the community.
- A Mexico garbage dump, where people live and scavenge for their livelihood.
- A Guatemalan community where children die from easily preventable illnesses.
- A burn unit in a Moldovan children’s hospital.
2. How you can prepare: We strongly encourage you to tour the exhibit first before taking your group through it. This will enable you to prepare your group for the experience. You can learn more about the exhibit using a few online resources:
3. REAL. LIFE. and REAL. HOPE. While the exhibit demonstrates the needs of people in eight different locations and situations, it also demonstrates REAL. HOPE. in what our volunteers and partners are doing to address the needs. The exhibit also ends on a very positive note: I Can Make A Difference. Practical suggestions offer groups ideas about what they can to do make a difference for the people whom they learned about in the exhibit.
4. Experiential learning: Because the exhibit is designed for experiential learning, your group will come to a greater understanding of the needs of children who are affected by disaster, conflict and poverty. Remember the saying:
"Tell me, and I forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Let me experience it, and I will understand."
5. Response and involvement: Several places in the exhibit allow you to interact with what you see:
- Badge: You will receive a photo badge to wear around your neck while touring the exhibit. The badge includes a photo of a child in the exhibit, a thought-provoking question about the child’s REAL. LIFE. situation, and the statement “Do not forget.”
- Questions and quizzes: Located at various places throughout the exhibit are interactives that ask questions. Look for large yellow question marks.
- Leave a message: Three REAL. LIFE. walls display drawings made by children in the disaster zones as well as their stories. You are invited to leave a message for the children—a thought, a message of hope, a prayer.
- In a few places, you are invited to experience REAL. LIFE. by walking into a Ugandan hut, lifting a jerry can of water, walking into a latrine, stepping into a garbage dump, etc.
- I CAN - I WILL make a difference: In one of the last rooms in the exhibit, you will find a basket of I WILL pouches. Guests can take a pouch and walk into a Marketplace where they can visit market stalls. Each market stall features a take home card that shares a specific way a guest can choose to make a difference. A sample of stalls include: I CAN advocate, learn, pray, give, act, and volunteer.
6. Who we are: Medical Teams International is a faith-based, Christian humanitarian aid agency. We help everyone in need without discrimination and without requiring any participation in religious activities as a condition for receiving help.
Our exhibit reflects who we are: our mission statement is visible; we mention God in some of the text panels; the HIV & AIDS vignette includes not only a medical clinic but also a church because churches are on the front lines of responding to HIV and AIDS; one of the action options is “I Can Pray.”
These are pieces of information about who we are, but no person going through the exhibit is coerced into participating in any religious activity.
7. Adult supervision: Your group must include one adult for every 10 students. Our exhibit volunteers will serve as greeters, hosts and discussion facilitators. We will normally have at least two volunteers in the exhibit at any one time, but our volunteers are not responsible for supervising your group.
8. Reflection and discussion: At the end of the exhibit is a reflection room where you will gather before leaving the exhibit. One of our trained facilitators will lead a time of discussion with the students to help them process what they have experienced in the exhibit. This is also a time to ask questions. If you wish to lead this time with the students yourself, please let us know—ideally before your arrival.
9. How long will it take? It will take between 45 minutes and 60 minutes to go through the exhibit. There is a reflection room that can seat about 50 people for a 30-minute time of reflection. So, an overall time of 1 1/2 hours is usually ample. If your group is large, more overall time is needed to allow for a staggered starting of smaller groups.
10. No photography is allowed in the exhibit.
11. Facilities: The exhibit has restrooms and water fountains. It is heated but not air-conditioned. We have no place to store backpacks or jackets.
12. Directions: Please see the Maps and Directions page.
13. Preparing your group: You can prepare your group in several ways:
14. Send us your comments and share your ideas: After you and your group tour the exhibit, let us know about your experience. Send suggestions, comments (yours and your group's), lesson plan and project ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.