Some teenagers want to go to Hawaii or to Panama City for spring break with their friends. Not me. Some teenagers want to go to Hawaii or to Panama City for spring break with their friends. Not me. I wanted to spend my time in a rural village in Nakuru, Kenya for ten days with the people there.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
After a long fourteen hour plane ride, my team and I finally arrived in the Nairobi, Kenya airport. I had never been happier in my entire life to be able to get up and walk around. That thankfulness quickly came to an end after about five minutes of standing in the customs line carrying all of my luggage. My lazy American self was ready to sit down again.
Once all of the luggage had been loaded onto the vans, we headed off to where we were staying for the next ten days associated with a group by the name of The Kenya Project. Little did I know, but the next ten days were about to be the most incredible days of my life. My team and I lead a hope camp with eighty teenagers from the village of Nakuru. Being a teenager myself, it was very neat to play and have fun with people my own age that live halfway around the world. As I spent more time with them, I began to find out we both had many of the same dreams and goals in life. Through talking and interacting with them, they opened my eyes to just how self-centered I and Americans are. Some of their concerns and wants were to have political rest in their nation or to be able to have food that evening for dinner. It showed me how wanting the newest iPod or a new pair of tennis shoes was no longer important because these teenagers were grateful for everything they had, which was not much.
Not only were these teenagers an inspiration to me, but so were the children. The way their faces lit up when you only offered a hug or how grateful they were when you handed them a sticker. Not once did they complain about what sticker they got nor did they want more; they were happy to be getting one. Through interaction with these children, my eyes were really opened to how I should be grateful for everything that I have when they can be appreciative of just a hug. To me their faces were the face of hope.
At times I found it hard to relate things with them such as what they might do on a Friday night. When I might go to the movies, they may go to work or just hang out with their friends on the street corner. Though there were some barriers, they were quickly knocked down and common ground was found again. Despite the fact that we live on separate continents and have very different lifestyles, I know that together we can make a difference in the world. I am forever changed by the people in Africa.
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