Throughout the beginning of my high school career I never really knew where I fit in. I’d had my troubles through my freshman year of high school, and I guess you could say I was ready to give up, and just be done with life. But then I got the opportunity of a lifetime: Seven months after the earthquake in Haiti, I had the chance to travel there with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Group at my high school.
It must’ve sounded crazy to anyone I told, but I was more than excited to travel there. That all changed the moment I stepped off the plane in Port-au-Prince. A paralyzing terror hit me.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Little hands reached through the electric fence toward me, begging for anything they could get. All around you eyes stare at me; they stared at me with the hunger to be me. Everything I’d ever known had just been taken away from me. I had no running water, no electricity, no phone; I wouldn’t have my bed for a whole week. Staying in an orphanage thirty minutes outside of the center of Port-au-Prince; I was sleeping on concrete floors, drinking 110 degree water, and eating moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was completely lost to the outside world.
I remember the first night we were there; I cried wanting to go home. I hadn’t even been there twenty-four hours, and I already missed my comfort items. Waking up in the morning and starting on our first job was really hard for me. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It was amazing, though. The people welcomed us with open arms; the children ran to us and hugged us so tight -they wouldn’t let us go. As soon as I saw how welcoming and loving these people were I felt at ease. I finally felt at home.
After the first night in Haiti, I didn’t even notice what I didn’t have. It took having everything taken away from me to realize how lucky I am. The simplest things, like coloring a picture, blowing bubbles, playing cards, or playing hand games would entertain me. The people I met, and the children I saw, will stay in my heart forever. They did more for me than I think I did for them. At the end of the day, the people I met changed my life, and turned me into a better person. It was amazing to me that even after their country was completely destroyed, the people we met still had faith in God and believed that there was a reason he did this. Through their strength in God, they made me believe that I had a reason to believe in God again, to believe in myself, and to keep on living the life God gave me.
If I had the chance to go back and see them, I wouldn’t even have to think about it; I’d be there in a heartbeat. I’ve made it my mission in life now, to make an impact on as many people as I can, for as long as I can. It all started with the people in Haiti, and I hope that I can go back there someday, and continue my mission work with them.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.