During spring break of my sophomore year in high school, me and my family went to Belize in Central America for a week. We went with the purpose of having fun, which is exactly what we did. However, the one thing I didn’t expect was what I would see in terms of peoples life styles’ while I was there.
Before we had left, I had heard that not everyone lived like I did in the United States- that is, like people of the middle class. I had seen it in the United States as my relatives who live in Alabama are very poor, but they were able to get by. I had heard stories of how people go without water for a few day because they didn’t have the means of getting water on a daily basis. Things that I took for granted were about to be exposed as I travelled to this distant land.
When we first arrived there, it seemed as though everything was going to be great as we had a hotel that was on the coast and seemed tropical enough for my liking coming out of the cold in Minnesota. There were palm trees, the weather was great, the water was warm, everything was perfect.
Things stayed like this for about, oh, two hours. This is because when me and my family went into the nearby town of Hopkins, we experienced the other side of Belize, the poverty stricken side. Hopkins is a small town located just outside of the small, paradise-like resort that me and my family were staying in. When we went into the town, I saw a lifestyle that I was completely unaccustomed to. There were people in dirty clothes, run down shops everywhere, shops with no electricity, people were extremely thin, no shoes, terrible roads (but that didn’t matter very much because there were no cars), and small outdoors shops everywhere. I was shocked to see these people living this way, and while it was a wakeup call in the sense that I had no idea people were living in these terrible conditions, it was also a wake up sense in a different way as well. That way is that these people were extremely happy to see us and that they were able to live this life in happiness because they didn’t know any better. They had lived their lives this way for as long as they could remember, and they really enjoyed it. So while I was sitting there feeling bad for them, I realized that I shouldn’t be, because in fact, they were probably living happier lives than I was. Any little bit of generosity that was displayed towards them, like when my parents gave this one lady a $5 tip, made them so excited and happy that it almost made me wish that I could experience that same feeling and lifestyle.
The rest of the trip was very pleasurable because of my new world outlook and personal philosophy. I realized that I took everything for granted and decided that that would no longer be the case. So, while the vacation was relaxing in the sense that we spent almost the entire time on the beach, the moments where we went into town changed the way I view life. If it wasn’t for that trip, I would still take the biggest things for granted, but instead I am thankful for the opportunity of being able to drink water everyday whenever I want, which is more then some people in this world can say.
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