Living in a land of wealth, I hadn’t realized how fortunate I really am. It was the summer of my junior year and I was about to board the plane to head off on my very first mission trip to Nicaragua, while talking on my cherished two-hundred dollar cell phone. I said goodbye to all my friends, and complained about how I won’t have a hair staightener on my trip. This trip consisted of eight hours sitting in the world’s smallest seats, next to a man I didn’t know. Worst of all, he smelled funny! I got sodas, but they didn’t have Coke, only nasty Pepsi. When I arrived at the airport in Nicaragua, I had to wait in this horribly long line just to pay customs to get into the country and help these people. I loaded up a school bus and started my journey to the mission home about forty-five minutes away.
At the mission home I was told that I couldn’t flush the toilet paper, it was to be placed it the trashcan. Hearing this, I knew I was truly in a third world country. “Alright,” I thought “at least I still have hot showers in the morning.” Then I ate and went to sleep.
Early the next morning at six a.m., I packed up my stuff and headed out to my mission site, El Tuma. Somewhere on that trip up the mountain, I found that the showers were outside and the toilets wouldn’t flush. I also found out I would be sleeping on an air mattress with guards protecting my quarters. Being as exhausted as I was I crawled into my tiny little mosquito-net covered air mattress and passed out.
The next day, I worked triage, taking weights and blood pressure. I saw over a thousand people, old and young, sick and full of life. They had all been waiting in a six flags like line since one o’clock that morning. Holding their babies, standing in the pouring rain, not having anything to eat the worst for these people was all their medical problems. Miraculously, though, they were all very happy and appreciative to see us. One woman with a fever of 103?F was standing in line for over ten hours with her two children, who also had high fevers, they weren’t seen that day. Instead of throwing a fit, like I would’ve done, she went home patiently and came back the next day. These people were grateful for our services. Even the smallest things that I took for granted like, toothpaste and my “livestrong” bracelet were prized possessions.
I spent five days in the conditions and coming back to the mission home and having a nice hot shower was the most amazing thing I had ever done. The fact that I could leave those conditions, the fact that I was so blessed to be coming home the next day on a huge airplane with wonderfully comfortable seats, and the fact that I had the privilege to have whatever type of soda I wanted, made such an impact on me it actually made me feel bad for being so fortunate.
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