Sometimes we go places without really noticing where we are. Were living life in the fast lane and enjoying the ride. We don’t bother slowing down to notice our surroundings. At least I didn’t; not until Nicaragua. When I visited Nicaragua the brakes on my life slammed to a sudden halt. This was a place that changed my views on what I wanted to do with my career, the way I thought about government and politics, and a view that changed my morals and my lifestyle. The first time I visited Nicaragua was the summer of 2008. I was a young girl who, to be honest, was rather naive. I thought that I wanted to become a big shot lawyer and live in the biggest house that money could buy. By going on the mission trip to Nicaragua I was envisioning an increase with my relationship with God and my community service hours. And yes I did achieve both of these but I also achieved something more. I was introduced to a different outlook on my life.
In Nicaragua I experienced poverty first hand. During our week helping out in the orphanage we became part of the orphanage. We stayed in the guest house, which was by no means nicer then any other part of the building. We showered in freezing cold water; hand washed our clothes and dishes, slept on uncomfortable mattresses and ate rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A third world country was not what I had ever envisioned my “paradise” as being. But rather then complaining about it all I realized what a blast I was having. I had never been more happy and enthusiastic. The only logical reason for being so ecstatic about the situation was the feeling of pure joy when I worked alongside the young Nicas. I felt for the first time in my life that the littlest things really do matter. A simple smile went along way when there’s such a strong language barrier. A hug, something I usually brushed off from my family, became a symbol of true love and care. When I looked into the eyes of the young children and thought about the awful past they each suffered through I was overcome with determination to make them happy. So that first week in Nicaragua, I was not working for myself. I was working for the children, for the country, and for peace.
When I returned home, I was overwhelmed by reality. The reality being that I was unhappy in my materialistic world. The brand of my jeans or my cell phones design seemed of such little importance now. I suddenly realized that the whole reason for my trip was to open my eyes. Too see the rest of the world and to change the wrongs that I had witnessed. Now more then ever, I wanted to become involved in politics, especially worldwide. I have decided that rather than being a big shot lawyer I will become a lawyer for the underprivileged. Knowing full well that this will not be the wealthiest option, I have decided to follow this career plan. My goal is that I will become fluent in Spanish, as that is the language spoken in many third world countries. I am also planning on volunteering a year in some sort of charitable organization. Looking back I would have never believed that this would be by future dream plan.
My experience in Nicaragua was a moving and inspirational journey. I have always been told that I have a big heart. But I never put that quality into action until after my trip. Now I spend more time lending a helping hand whenever I am needed. I am a responsible person who the community can count on. In Nicaragua I learned just how important a community who works together is. I have taken my experience in Nicaragua and applied it to my own life in my own small town here in Enumclaw, Washington. Now I just hope to fulfill my dreams of reaching out a helping hand to those suffering around the world.
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