Living in the United States of America forces us to take everything for granted. Resembling most American teens, my perspective of school was just another requirement forced upon me by society. During my sophomore summer I had to travel to my native country, Haiti, with my parents. I would have preferred staying home and enjoying the summer with my friends, but that was not an option. When I finally realized that complaining wasn’t going to improve my situation, I decided to enjoy my vacation. I boarded the airplane and after five excruciating hours we arrived at L’airport International. I hadn’t been to Haiti in over ten years, so everything seemed foreign. There were so many beautiful trees and for the first time I was completely aware of my surroundings. Even though I am Haitian and fluently speak Creole, I was experiencing a complete cultural shock. After leaving the Airport, I felt like I was in one big television commercial. There were children outside begging for money so that they could eat, women crying, and men fighting. In the course of that summer, the connotation of life changed for me.
After living at my grand-mothers house for two days, I felt like a complete outcast. Everyone around me seemed to have a companion that they were compatible with but me. The feeling of destituteness came over me because there was no one around my age to speak to. That feeling weakened after meeting a boy named Billy, who ran errands for my grandmother. He had a very affable smile, and was very inquisitive. Billy always asked me questions about America and how to say certain words in English. His curiosity was very innocent, and he seemed to venerate a lot of my daily activities. School was always one of his favorite topics, which surprised me because I was ambiguous to the fascination behind waking up early, and staying in a place for over six hours. It wasn’t until Billy explained to me that In Haiti School isn’t as much of an obligation as is in the states. He said that only the children who were fortunate enough to have money were able to attend school. He also told me that only five kids from his neighborhood attended school and that the coming fall he wouldn’t be able to. Billy’s incentive to attend school next fall intrigued and inspired me.
Visiting Haiti showed me that the little necessities that I take for granted are a big deal to the children over there. I never thought of myself as privileged, but after meeting Billy I realized that I had been taking a lot for granted. This experience rouses the quote that everything happens for a reason. Billy was put in my life in order for me to grow up and be a better person. I was moved by his determination, persistence, and thirst for knowledge. I made it my objective to have an affect on Billy’s life as he had on mine, so before leaving Haiti I gave him all my American currency. It felt invigorating to help him continue the journey that he was so passionate about completing. I walked away with more than Billy in this friendship. The money I gave him would be able to help him go to school the next year; but I had much more than that. He taught me a significant life lesson that I will never forget; to cherish my blessings and to never take them for granted.
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