EVENT DATE: Oct 01, 2016
Last year my dad surprised my family with a trip to Africa. While I had no idea what to expect, it was the best two weeks of my life. I immediately fell in love with Africa. Okay not totally immediately. I fell in love with Africa about two days into our trip. Day one was a lot to take in; day two and three is when the magic struck. The landscape and scenery is picturesque, the animals are majestic, the people are extraordinarily kind and beautiful, and the poverty is real. I was stunned to see that the poverty scenes in movies or on TV are in no way exaggerated. In some respects, the media does not even do it justice in portraying just how impoverished some communities are. But then it hit me- every single person had a smile on their face. No matter how poor or what their living conditions were, they had a smile bigger than anyone I know carries most days. It eventually made me smile too. I realized they were far richer than me because they valued everyday life for what it was, and for that a smile is always worn. A reminder I desperately needed.
Especially hard to see were the children. While following each other around and playing in a carefree way, I had a lump in my throat knowing they would most likely never have the same opportunities I had growing up. And that is not fair. Everyone deserves a chance to live their dream.
One day we walked into a local village and right away two kids started tugging at my arms, one on each arm. I had the biggest smile on my face because just like every other kid they wanted to be noticed and loved on. I remember turning to my mom and saying there must be something more we can do. That is why I decided to participate in this walk; I want to do something. It may not be much, but it is something. I especially want to do something to help girls and women who can’t necessarily help themselves. It is the least I can do in return for the prospective I gained from every person I encountered during my time in Africa. For that I will be forever grateful.