A step of recognition

From the gradual transition of my childhood to my teenage years, I have grasped a few important concepts of the world. The first is to grasp at any opportunity that presents itself. The second is that the most common factor in determining a person’s success is by the amount of things he or she owns.

The third is that no matter what hardships may befall a person, always pull through and stay true to your own set of values. Throughout my high school years, I had taken an interest in an upcoming church trip to the Dominican Republic to set up medical clinics for the local people. I have heard many stories of all the experiences that happened, and I made the decision to go. Uncertainty swept in. I was overwhelmed with a mob of local kids talking away in their own language. I listened in on some of the English side conversations with the leaders and I was surprised to learn that many of the Dominican kids are orphans, or are motherless, or have been abandoned.

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Shock slowly crept in. I began to view these kids in a different perspective. I wondered how this one child could be so happy with just a single beat-up rollerblade. Yet there he was, skating along on one foot, and the other barefoot wearing the biggest smile I had ever seen. Warmth began to sink in. I had adopted this windowless, dirty, bug infested place as my second home.

My team was staying in a church in El Baden, in one of the more poor areas. The living areas of where several of the El Baden kids stayed in were more or less equivalent to run-down shacks with little to no electricity. Faced with the hardships of losing one or both parents, little wealth, and disease, the kids I have known here are some of strongest people physically and mentally. Admiration settled in. I had learned that though language can be a barrier, it can be overcome.

I struggled with my minimal Spanish in an effort to communicate with them everyday.