When I was in sixth grade, I was offered an amazing opportunity to go on a mission’s trip to Managua, Nicaragua. Nicaragua is one of the poorest nations and more than half of the population lives in poverty. However, these statistics failed to scare me from going. I remember stepping off the plane and feeling so excited and willing to help the various communities of Nicaragua. However, it wasn’t until we took a public bus through the city that I began to realize what exactly I had gotten myself into.
The roads in Nicaragua are dirt. Homeless people line the streets, and hundreds of stray dogs that carry diseases roam the cities looking for scraps of food. On the bus ride to our host families, I distinctively recall crying the hardest that I have ever cried. But it wasn’t because I was homesick or scared for my safety, it was simply because I felt heartbroken for all of the people that we passed by through the city. Every stop sign we came too, young little children who were street vendors, would run up to the side of the bus yearning for one of us to buy a hemp bracelet, a balloon, or even just an orange.
The next day, I had to walk to a church to meet up with my team. As I walked on the dirt roads, I saw something that continues to haunt me to this day. I saw a group of five kids, roughly aged five to seven, sitting down with cans of glue, inhaling the substance. The more and more I walked to the church, the more I saw clusters of young children huffing toxic glue. I became increasingly depressed witnessing these young children. I desperately wanted to just pick them all up and take them to safety; a place where they could have a bed to sleep on, food to eat, and love and attention that all kids need at their age.
When I finally reached the church, I met up with my team members and we all discussed various topics of interests. “My host family put me in the attic,” “I sleep on the floor,” “Wait, you got to eat breakfast this morning?” We traveled to a smaller town near Managua, to build a small building that would be made into a pre school. We all drove in the back of two trucks to this small city. When we got there, children flocked to the sides of the trucks. When they saw Americans, they instinctively knew that we had one thing for them. Candy. We were opening bags of candy up like it was a parade, handing out candy to seventy-five plus kids. After the candy fiasco, I started getting to know the kids. I became better at memorizing the names of all of them. Within a week the small building was finished; it wasn’t much, but the people were very excited to see this building. I was very humbled to have been a part of this experience. The next morning our flight left. I remember giving hugs to various people I had met that week and crying, wanting to stay longer. The only things these people own are big hearts; rich in love. This trip taught me so much.
We, as a nation, can do things to help other nations in need. I believe that we should come together and help the struggling nations like Nicaragua. We forget to realize that there are people out in this world who don’t have the privileges that we do. I hope to one day educate the minds of those who haven’t been able to see what I have, and then inspire them to want to make a change.
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