When I was a young boy I traveled to Africa with my family. While I was there I learned what it means to help others and the friendships that can come from it.
My father, mother, sister and I were traveling by car from the city to our home at the lake when we were caught by a terrible storm. The roads in this part of Africa are always getting washed out by floods. It didn’t take long for the car to stall when the water rose above the engine. My mother tried to keep us calm in the car while my father tried to get the car started again.
Just when it seemed that there was no hope in sight, and our car started to slide off the road several locals from a nearby village came running to our rescue. Before we knew it there was 15 people pushing our car to higher ground. I remember feeling like a blanket of safety had just fallen over us and everything was going to be ok. I remember thanking our rescuers what seemed like several hundred times.
Although we were free of the river that almost washed us away we were still stranded in the middle of no where because the engine was filled with water. After sitting along the side of the road in the rain for quite some time and watching truck after truck drive by us, a large SUV pulled off to the side of the road. They were the first Europeans we had seen since we were stuck and they offered to tow us to a repair shop.
While we waited for our car to be repaired the family that towed us to safety stayed to make sure we got out of there alright. After talking to them for a while my parents realized that they had met some years ago through mutual friends.
I remember feelings of joy: here I was stranded in the middle of Africa and some old friends of my father’s just happen to be driving by and stopped to give us a hand. It was the first real life lesson I ever had in what it meant to help others. We remained in touch with them over the years and it showed me the friendships that can be formed through giving a helping hand.
I believe that taking a second, a minute, an hour, a day, or more to help someone can lead to a great friendship and the feeling of joy.
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