In face of death, many people are confronted with a dilemma that changes an important aspect of one's life; whether it is their lifestyle, worldview or outlook in life. Fortunately for me, I did not have such an event, but this did occur to Lillian, an orphan at Grace Children's Home. With the death of Lillian, I experienced my very own predicament. The foundations of my worldview were delusive and a change was vital.
Lillian was a cheerful and vivacious little girl who entered Grace Children's Home in Nairobi, Kenya. She was like any other child in Africa, but she belonged to the exclusive group of children afflicted with AIDS. This past year, her immune system grew weaker and her body eventually acceded to the most predominant epidemic in Africa.
During my school vacations I had been able to help out at Grace Children's Home. It was another day of handing out biscuits (Kenyan term for cracker) to the kids. About seventy children mobbed me as if I possessed some ultimate treasure. The sick children (children with AIDS) were always the first to receive the snack. Slowly gaining control of the children I tried to divide the biscuits equally to all another. To my surprise most of the children kept coming back for more and they would say they did not get any. However; I was taken aback when I saw Lillian waiting patiently in the back of the line. While the other children tried to deceptively get more, Lillian waited with contentment and forbearance. After ten minutes of scramble and chaos Lillian finally got her biscuit and went off with a smile and thank you.
This small act of appreciation lingered in the back of my mind. I couldn't understand how Lillian was so full of gratitude. She had nothing to go back to, no parents, no family, and to top it off she was a victim of the notorious disease that kills over a million children every year. Lillian was completely undaunted by her situation and wore the biggest smile a child could possess. She spent her days full of cheerfulness and audacity. Lillian had surmounted her status quo and was seizing every moment of every day.
I have been living in a third world country for the last half of my life. Though aware of the society I was apart of I had not taken into account the lifestyle and conditions the majority of Kenyan people lived in. While the majority of Kenyans survived off five dollars a day, I grumbled about what more I could have. Everything had revolved around me, what I wanted to do, what I wanted. I was living an egocentric life. I had sought contentment and bliss with the materialistic objects I possessed. I was consumed by my desire for more. I had fallen victim to self-absorption.
Lillian's death had turned my world upside down and popped my narcissistic bubble which threw me back into reality. My outlook to the pursuit of happiness was challenged and I was convicted of my current lifestyle. All that I knew to make me happy and content was a misconception. Inadvertently Lillian had awakened me from my stupor of self-importance.
Since the death of Lillian, I have been trying my best to stop living for myself; to put others before me, and to make service to others my priority. Finding the acceptance and contentment from what really matters. To be satisfied with all that I already have and from refusing to covet more then what I need. I have thrown away my old self and put my selfish ways behind me. I want to serve the people of Kenya in any way possible to show the change that Lillian has brought in my life. I am still growing out of my selfish ways. Now in my final year, I will try and spend as much time as possible with the children of Grace Children's Home as I aspire to learn more from these children.