On April 25, 2006 I attended a missionary trip to Ensenada, Mexico with my Church’s Gospel Troupe. We went with the intent to sing and lift the hearts of orphans in the City of Children Orphanage. The mentality that I gathered on the six hour bus ride was that of an ignorant American.
As soon as we got off the bus we went on a tour of the entire orphanage, first stopping at a memorial. We were told how when ever guest came to visit the orphanage, they had a beach day where they would go to the beach and let the kids get to know the visitors. They told us how they stopped that tradition because the last time they had done it a tide came and four kids were pulled into the ocean by the current. For four days they went back to the ocean and each day they found one kid. Watching the teary eyed man tell the story surprised me. The mentality that I had was that these people weren’t so close but watching this old man cry helped me to realize that not all orphanages were like Annie’s.
After church we were once again allowed to play with our new friends. We taught them double dutch while they beat us at basketball. The short amount of time before we had to leave was the most memorable. It was the time when we realized that even though there was a language barrier and we were from two totally different worlds we were the same. I knew that I would not see my friends for a very long time but we knew that we couldn’t waist time worrying about inevitable events so we played until it was time to go.
Later, we exchanged hugs and boarded the bus. In addition to new friends, I had come back from Mexico with something so unexpected. Because I, like most others, had embarked on this journey with the common mentality that I was going to be the one impacting and inspiring the lives of all these orphans. I went with the hopes that I would be able to come back to Los Angeles and tell my friends about how I had changed someone’s life. And although that may have been true, the outcome was far greater. I came back angry at myself and many other Americans. I had realized how ungrateful I was, I complained so much about how I wanted this outfit or these shoes, when there were kids in this orphanage who were happy to have a pair of shoes. I came back with this totally new perspective on life. I was inspired by these kids who probably had a closer family bond then most families I knew. By the end of my trip, a lot of the little problems I worried about, like those roaches, meant nothing to me. I had grown and matured over a weekend. I, the person who was expected to inspire, was inspired.
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