My name is Kaitlan Tatro. I am a 17 years-old and I live in a small town in California who loves to travel. One of my favorite trips was when I took a trip to Rome and the Mediterranean with my family. We went to the bustling cities of Rome and Athens where the cities were dirty, like most are. The last port that our cruise ship docked in was Alexandria. We were traveling to see the Great Pyramids. Egypt and the Great Pyramids always seemed glamorous in my mind. The greatest of people lived here, Cleopatra, King Tut, and many more. I was so excited to see what the ancient civilization that built such wonderful structures had actually made with no machines.
While driving through the deserts, I began to realize how the current economic and political conflicts were affecting the people of Egypt. I started to see old, beat up cars and people walking unable to afford the luxurious car that is taken for granted in America. As we progressed further into town, I began to see the reality of the poverty that has struck the ancient city of Cairo. Street upon street, there were piles upon piles of trash. A mix of food, clothes, drinks, paper, and cans spread across the city like a disease. Every corner there was a pile of ragged colors. I remember cringing in my bus seat thankful that my town did not look like that. I saw shacks upon shacks where people appeared to be living because they could not afford a house. Animals were roaming the streets such as sheep and cats with half skinned pigs hanging from a shop. Men and women sat in half broken cars along the side of the road smoking and waving at the passing busses. People everywhere were begging, bartering, and convincing you to buy their products. The smallest of children looking helpless and coming up to you to ask if you would buy a postcard was a continuous burden. Throughout all this sad, poverty, and hurt, the children appeared to be happy and joyous as if nothing had happened. I would see their smiles and joy as they saw the busses of fresh faces pass by. The moment when they kids would look up and wave back frantically made me smile and decide to wave back.
Looking at everything and how they lived was overwhelming. I had no idea that is how Egypt would be: that it had become that unsanitary and that many people were living poor and on the streets. I could not believe how lucky I was when I thought how thankful I was to have a room, a bed, a school, food, and so much more that I take for granted every day. It was a great experience and although a sad memory it was a revelation and that is what makes it great. That trip changed a lot in me and I would go back in a heartbeat but this time I would help.
My goal in the future is to do what most everyone does. I want to go to a 4 year University such as University of Southern California or University of California Los Angeles. I want to earn my medical degree in pharmaceutical medicines and advance to a local store or pharmacy to begin my career. Whenever I get a chance, I want to travel to other places around the world, to gain more experiences and witness other cultures. Traveling is a great way to shape character and to have fun. In the future , I hope to teach my kids the same lesson.
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