QUARTER-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Spacious greenery surrounds me on all sides, dabbled with dots of civilization. We are distributing food atop a short but broad mountain in the modest village of El Diamante, which translated into English reads, “The Diamond.” Initially, this translation seemed like a rather ironic word to describe a small village in the heart of the developing country called Honduras. Nevertheless, people shuffled down the line to each helper who handed out his or her assigned fruit or vegetable. A man arrived at my station just like the many before him had. But this time it was different. Up to this point I had mostly been paying attention to the swarm of eager receivers humming about and focusing on the logistics of this giveaway. But at this moment I peered into the man’s eyes, which seemed to be revealing of his grateful heart. It seemed peculiar to me at first, but I then realized that almost all of the Hondurans in the vicinity had similar attributes. Deep eyes dripping with sincere gratitude for what they had rather than with envy for those who had more than they did. Skin, stretched and wrinkled over their cheekbones, indicative of the many years of toiling under the blistering sun, obtaining first-hand the fruits of their hard labor, as opposed to the soft, undamaged skin of those of us who tend to retreat indoors after feeling the first bead of sweat run down our foreheads. Open hands giving selflessly to those around them even if it’s not a relative or friend, which contrasts to our often closed hands that keep whatever lies in them. Hearts that haven’t been molested by the poisons of modern society with its lying, cheating, and stealing. These people opened my eyes to the realization that contentment is not found in what one possesses but in the ability for one to provide for oneself and one’s family. Dr. Orison Swett Marden, a brilliant philosophical thinker during the early 20th century, once said, “The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is poorer. He only is rich who can enjoy without owning; he is poor who though he has millions is covetous.” This quote epitomizes the relationship between the lives of the Hondurans and those of us who have a surplus of material possessions, and I begin to realize that the once seemingly ironic name of this village now perfectly captures it. El Diamante; “The Diamond.” A diamond is pure and without defect. This village is pure and without defect in that it has escaped the destruction and selfishness that comes with the advancement and industrialization of mankind. It has remained in its pure state. This village has forever changed my view of how I look at those who are worse off than the general population. Are these people really worse off than us? I don’t think so. I for one now strive to be like them. I want to be content with what I have and be eager to give. I now strive to be an influence on the people around me, both my friends and my community. And maybe someday, we’ll be formed into a diamond just like this village.
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