For my first event, I watched the movie Wasteland. Vik Muniz travelled to Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill, to create art out of recycled materials. There is a small population of people who live in the landfill, they pick recyclable materials out of the loads of trash that come every day. Muniz interviews and follows the lives of six workers to take pictures and recreate them in recycled materials. After creating the portraits, one of them was auctioned off for about fifty thousand dollars and all of it was given back to the families of six workers he used for the portraits. Vik Muniz gave those families different lives and changed their lives forever. He did not just help those people; he gave back to his home land of Brazil.
A main concern in Jesuit education is service and justice. Muniz wanted to give back to the nation he loved and he did that by changing the lives of the workers. “Saint Ignatius wanted love to be expressed not only in words but also in deeds” (Kolvenbach, 27). Saint Ignatius wanted students in Jesuit universities to preform actions that helped the community and show that they love it and the people in it. The deeds that the students preform cannot be insignificant and small, but actually have to make an impact and have to respond to need in the community. Muniz gave back what was appropriate with the circumstances of the families. Some had their families in a one-bedroom house; they all used one mattress. “Only a substantive justice can bring about the kinds of structural and attitudinal changes that are needed to uproot those sinful oppressive injustices that are a scandal against humanity and God.” (Kolvenbach, 27). Muniz not only impacted the families of the workers, but also impacted the community. Because Muniz made this story into a documentary, the poverty and struggle in Jardim Gramacho was made aware to people around the world.
Another key idea in Jesuit education is for students to learn to communicate and think clearly along with learning personal responsibility. McDonough’s “Accident, Mass. Ave.” illustrates a story of two people who got in a car accident, but nothing was wrong with the cars. The two get out of their cars and start swearing, they said they both knew what to do, which was get out of the car and yell. These two people were not thinking on their own and could not control themselves. These two people were not communicating well and should have taken this differently, but they were blinded by the actions of others. Jesuit education is designed to teach you to think independently and think about community. The two drivers should have realized that there was no damage and the situation would never had escalated past a simple conversation and inspection of the cars. They could have thought for themselves, instead of doing the typical Massachusetts thing of getting out of the car.
Community plays a substantial role in Jesuit education, goals and values are shared between the whole community creating a sense of unity between everybody. This unity and idea to bring people together is like the wall in Frost’s “Mending Wall.” The two neighbors come together once a year to fix the wall, creating an opportunity for both to work together for the good of each other. The wall brings them together creating a sense of unity and cooperation. The wall is the equivalent of Jesuit education, in the sense that its purpose is to bring communities and individuals together to work as one.