Life Changing Thank You - My Family Travels

I never realized how truly blessed I am to live in the United States. I know I wouldn’t normally admit this, but I have not been as appreciative as I should be. That changed this past summer. 

I began a collection in May to help the needy children in Nicaragua, a small country in Central America. I collected over 800 baseball and softball uniforms & equipment and I shipped them to my grandmother’s house in Nicaragua. While there, I distributed the items to underprivileged children. 

When I arrived in Nicaragua, I still had the American mind set. I will always have running water, I will always have electricity, I will always drive on safe and sturdy roads. But as the days progressed, that mind set changed. 

What I saw was poverty. Real life, not on TV, poverty. The most moving part of my trip, and the moment that has changed me, took place two days before I came back home. I returned to San Gregorio, one of two small towns receiving the donated items. There, I toured the only catholic school in the area. The school looked like a long concrete trailer from the outside. The bathrooms were two out houses made with pieces of aluminum. All five classrooms were poorly furnished and maintained. Cracks were on the walls, desks were old and frail and the technology was no where near what we have here. The school cafeteria was literally the smallest room in the school. The cook told me, as she prepared a large pot of rice and beans, that this lunch is sometimes the only good meal the kids have a day. 

While I was at the school, one little boy pulled out the baseball equipment that I had given him the previous day. He told me that he was truly grateful that I had come. At that moment, I began crying. Even though this little boy was happy, I couldn’t help but get emotional because I know that in the United States, we take so many things for granted and yet just a small gift made this boy thankful & genuinely happy. 

The priest of San Gregorio, asked me to share my experience with my American friends. He wants me to share, not to seek sympathy, but to make others aware of how his town lives daily. My mission opened my eyes & allowed me to appreciate the small things I once took for granted.

The little boy’s thank you in San Gregorio is something that I will never forget, and it inspires me to continue helping the children in this poor region. I would like to share this experience with others and hopefully inspire them to join me in continuing this mission annually. I feel that we have a responsibility to help others, like those living in San Gregorio. I have become more conscientious, knowing this experience will help me continue to be more resourceful in college. I will think twice about leaving lights on in my dorm, and about the left over food on my plate after dinner and about the running water when I brush my teeth. I now appreciate the small things that I took for granted, and I know that will continue as I get older.

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