A Break from the Busyness

04.14.2011

       Before my senior year of high school, I traveled, with sixteen other guys from my school, to Guatemala for a ten day service trip. This trip had a tremendous effect on me. For my entire life, I had lived in a bubble. I was aware that there were people who had less than me, that there were people in need. But I never knew to what extent.
      While in Guatemala, half of the group worked at a school while the other half of the group worked at a nursery. We were in Guatemala City, which is where the Guatemala City dump is located. The dump is where the majority of the poor of Guatemala City search for food or plastic and aluminum to sell to companies for a few cents. The school and nursery were created to take care of the children of those who search the dump.
     In college, it’s easy to lose yourself among the stress and busyness of daily life, but it’s important to have that thing that will bring you back to the present and remind you of who you really are. While in Guatemala, I really bonded with a nine year old named Antonio. All throughout the trip, he would draw me pictures and write me little letters. On the last day of the trip, while we were saying our goodbyes, he gave me a necklace that he had worn every day that I’d seen him. The necklace means a lot to me, but the memories it brings up are so much greater. I will always remember Antonio, and I keep his gift hanging by my desk. When things get stressful, when things get tough, when I am down, I look at the necklace, and it makes everything better. It puts things in perspective for me. I think it’s important to have something that brings you back down to earth, that calms you down and puts everything in perspective.