Two summers ago, my parents and I traveled to South Africa. We toured with a group for two weeks and then stayed in a small village right outside of Zambia for a week. While we were on the tour, we were pampered with beautiful five star hotels, amazing buffet dinners, and a clean coach bus to drive us everywhere. We saw all the normal tourist attractions and bargained for souvenirs to take home to our friends and family. We learned about the histories of the places and even went on a safari in the great Kruger National Park to see elephants, zebras, giraffes, and rhinos. It seemed like a normal trip to me; I had gotten used to the pampering. My parents had never explained why we were then going to stay in a small village, but I had no choice but to be open to the experience. The village was about an hour away from Zambia. We were to live in a small room for the three of us and use a dirty shack to shower in. There were no beds, just mats for us to sleep on. My openness to this experience was quickly fading. During the day, we would help clean the village and spend time with the families there. My mom spent her days helping the women get ready for meals and get water from the pump that was three miles away. My dad spent his days with the men doing physical labor. I spent my days playing with the children and teaching them hand games.
My parents and I take a trip every summer and winter break. The summer usually consists of touring while the winter trip is used more as a means of relaxation. My dad, mom and I have very separate lifestyles at home. My dad spends a lot of time going to meetings all day and coming home late at night. My mom works long hours, seven days a week. I, being a normal teenager, come home from school and spend most of my time cooped up in my room watching television or facebooking. We do not spend a lot of time together at home as a family, so traveling allows us to make up for lost time. Traveling is not only our way of spending time together, but it is our way of experiencing other countries and different lifestyles.
How will my presence enrich your community? I will show students the importance of doing service. I am an only child and I have by no doubt been completely spoiled. However as much as my parents give me, they have also given me the chance to see people and countries in poverty. By traveling so much, I have learned to appreciate every single thing in my life. Each place we go to, my parents and I spend time touring and doing service as well. I feel that my generation has taken life and everything in it for granted and I want to show them that not everyone in this world has an easy life. I am not saying that I want to end hunger all over the world or build homes for every homeless person, but I want to spread the awareness of poverty. I truly believe that my generation can make a huge difference in the world. By entering your community, hopefully I can encourage my fellow classmates to reach out, do service and help make a change.