I experienced a life changing event that truly touched my heart in the summer of 2005 when I went to Colombia, South America. My family is from Colombia but we had not been back to Colombia since 1996. My aunt is a psychologist over there, so her job was to go out into the extremely poor and high crime neighborhoods to interact with children and do special activities in elementary schools. One of the days I was in Colombia I decided to go with my aunt because I wanted to see what life was like for children in a third world country.
My aunt took me to the small town of Betulia. When we got to the town I was instantly stunned at how friendly the young children were because they came up to greet me and they didn’t even know me. I got to meet many of the families in the town, but one family in particular drew my attention. The family of five lived in a shack and dirt was what their floor was made up of. Only one of the three boys of the family had a pair of shoes, which he was only allowed to wear when going to school. The others walked bare foot and had never even owned a pair of shoes. The oldest son who was fourteen dropped out of school when he was in fifth grade and has not returned since because he fears getting picked on for being so old and in the fifth grade. Listening to the story of the family was both touching and heartbreaking. I thought about how in America we live so comfortably, even if you’re poor. You’re never as poor as what I saw. I can’t imagine what it is like to go without eating for a day or not being able to take a hot shower. After I left that afternoon I felt the need to do something to try and help less fortunate people who are struggling. Two weeks later I returned to the small town and with the help of my family we served the children of Betulia lunch and afterwards we donated clothes (used clothes of my family and friends). We even gave away toothbrushes, which really excited the kids.
Ever since the summer of 2005 I go back at least twice a year to Colombia and visit Betulia as well as other small towns that are in need and donate clothes and supplies to the children. The children of Colombia touched me so much that I organized a school supplies drive at my high school. My high school helped me collect school supplies and other used items which I took to Colombia with me in June 2008. I’m thankful I got the opportunity to go on this trip that changed me for the better. Just being able to put a smile on someone’s face is the best feeling ever. Going on this trip let me see a new light and realize that I shouldn’t take things for granted or complain about life because there is always somebody worse off than you somewhere.
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