Guyana is someplace that can definitely be considered a third-world country full of poverty and corruption. Filled with humidity and humungous bugs, I considered it to be the serene place on Earth. It is also the place where my parents and grandparents were born and raised after being brought over from India through captivity. I traveled there for the first time during the summer of 2010 and I have to admit, it was something that I definitely wasn't ready for. We stayed at my grandparents house which you can say, wasn't really kept to "American Standards." It had an outside shower and bathroom. One day while I was half way through preening myself, there was a blackout, which I should've expected since there was one every day.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
We stayed in Guyana for two weeks in August, which was also during my 15th birthday. During this time there was a religious Islamic holiday called Ramadan, when many followers would give charity. My father then decided that the perfect thing for us to do is have a party with the children at the local orphanage. At first, I wasn't too excited about this considering most kids my age were out having parties or going on shopping sprees. As the day approached and I saw I had no other option, I decided that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
So, on August 19th we went to the orphanage. As soon as we arrived, the first thing I noticed was that none of the kids were wearing shoes, including the ones that were my age. I couldn’t believe the nature of this environment considering even the homeless people of Time Square had shoes on their feet. These children had on old, noisome clothing while the owners were wearing American Eagle, and Tommy Hilfiger (American Brands). The little ones played hand games, while the older ones, which were mostly girls, took care of the babies and did the chores of the house. I didn’t know what to feel as I thought about all the times I would complain about what I WANTED, when these children didn’t have the things they NEEDED. All I remember thinking was that I can't wait to go home to "civilization," when these children didn't even have their own parents to show them any kind of affection.
After they assembled in the lunch room, we began to cut the cake. The children immediately folded their hands as they sat one by one. When the last one was seated, they unanimously began to say grace thanking God for the cake they were about to eat. I was dumbfounded. If you asked a child of our generation, in this day in age in America to say grace and be thankful, you might as well be speaking another language. As we begin to lose all faith in religion, these children who can’t even read and write, know theirs like the back of their hands.
Although I couldn’t do much to help them, they helped me in the most unimaginable way. They SHOWED me something words would never be able to describe. We may run all these charity events at school, but we never know how they help or where they end up. This was something that I can say I did with my own hands and gave me the most life changing experience.
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