A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. I am proud to say that I am an optimist. I have taken the opportunity to travel to Peru and make changes in my life and in my community. I can say that the trip has had a profound effect on which I am as a person today. My expedition taught me to become a humble, charitable and grateful person. My trip has also helped put my talents and abilities into a career that I believe I will love.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
During the ten day adventure in the Amazonian rainforest, I realized that the Peruvians’ way of life was much different from how I had lived back in Houston. The people were very humble and comfortable with their lives. Riding in a small boat on the Amazon River and watching the villagers bathing and washing their clothes in the filthy river made me feel regretful for being so ungrateful at home. I admired their love for family and I felt even guiltier for neglecting what my mother and father had done for me throughout my life. Their living standards were so low, yet I felt the love they had for one another. Everyone in the village was there to accomplish the same goal – to live their lives to the fullest. One thing that made me become humble was having an actual Peruvian girl with us throughout our expedition. Although Andrea did not speak English, she told us what it was like living in Peru. She told us that it was hard getting a decent education because they did not learn things that Americans learned at her age and that she feared that if she wanted to leave Peru for college she would not be accepted. I felt terrible because I did not appreciate my education. At that moment I had wished that I could trade places with her just to see what it would be like to live like her. Andrea changed me for the better and if there were any way that I could thank her, I would. The journey definitely helped me become the humble person that I am.
During the trip, my group volunteered to help one of the village schools on the banks of the Amazon. We built libraries, donated books, played soccer and volleyball, and painted some of the local homes. The most sentimental part of the volunteer work was seeing their faces light up with thankfulness. That led to me become a charitable person. I loved the feeling I had when I realized that I had made an impact on their lives and education. When I went back to my home in Houston, I brought that feeling back with me. I promised myself that I would give back to community and I did exactly that. I initiated a tutoring program for the children in my church from the ages of 6-16 and I volunteered at local nursing homes to help the elderly and give them company and support. I can say that my trip caused me to become a more charitable person.
When I made it back to Houston, I realized that I had a broader perception of life. Seeing what the Peruvians had to deal with on the daily basis made me realize that having everything does not make you a happy person. I learned to be less judgmental when it comes to people who are less fortunate than I am. I learned that life is not about how much you have because it can be taken from you, but your pride is all you have at the end of the day. I appreciate every day that I am blessed to receive and live every single day as if I knew I would not make it to see the next minute.
With all that I learned in Peru I have discovered who I am as a person and my purpose on Earth. I have come to the conclusion that I will pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology because I have a natural affinity to help people. I have also decided that I will give back to my community and reciprocate my experience through a charity that I will create that tutors and gives underprivileged kids and young adults the opportunity to travel and reach any dreams that they may have. I will change the world one generation at a time.
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