This I Believe

Irene - Kent, Washington
Entered on April 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Sitting on the hard, dusty floor of the San Telmo church, I was agitated and filled with anger and disgust. Imagining Mexico as a place to relax and spend my summer at, it was the complete opposite as what I had in mind. My body ached from building houses and felt grimy from the hot sun and it begged for rest. And there was a distinct stench in the air that made me feel nauseous every time I took a breather to try and relax.. But to my surprise, going to Mexico Missions in August of 2004, opened my mind up to more important issues that are going on in our society now and I had realized many things about my self that I had never knew before.

Just being able to live with my family or having and family was such a blessing. During the visitation at the orphanage, I was impacted greatly by a young girl. Her name was Dalia. The first thing I noticed about her was her eyes. They were filled with curiosity and interest as I introduced myself. She was fascinated as I pulled out my disposable camera and insisted on taking a picture of her. She instantly fell in love of being in the lime light as she asked me to take more pictures of her. Seeing that she found my useless items as treasures, I agreed. Her hair was tangled by the dust winds, her pants were ripped at the knees and she was missing her left sandal. Hesitant at first, I learned to not let the appearance stand in our way of getting to know one another. Within the few hours we sang songs and played games, we formed a strong friendship. I taught her hand motions to songs, but she had taught me so much more. The children at the orphanage were so happy and content with what they had. And believe me, what they had wasn’t much. Even after all they had been through they still seemed so joyous and thankful for what everything they had. It may be because they were not aware of what was going on. But I choose to believe otherwise. Even though what we had to give them wasn’t much, with just a bottle of water and bag of snacks, their faces lit up with happiness. Just the fact that we spent time with them to show that someone cared meant the world to them. They simply never took anything for granted. And here I was, upset and complaining about the fact that I did not find Mexico as the paradise vacation I had expected. I myself and many others I know have lived complaining and wanting the things that were not necessary in life. Taking advantage of little things such as clean water and a nice pair of sneakers was considered as a luxury to another child.

Feeling sorry for Dalia, in the end, it was myself whom I looked down upon. Although she wished she could take my place in life with fancy materialistic items such as iPod’s and cameras, it was I, who envied her most. She was so free and happy with what she had and what she had, she never took advantage of. The differences in our lives and society showed how I took everything in life for granted and the overabundance of items that were not necessary in my life.

Many friends ask why I go to such a place where I cannot shower for a while week and put myself in misery. And I give them a simple answer. I believe Mexico is a place that is so different from where I live, that it almost seems so perfect. They may not have as many luxuries as we do, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. It humbles my heart to be thankful for what I have and to help others in need. Living in another person’s shoes for 2 weeks without everyday items such as clean water and a nice bed, it made me believe that I should never take what I had for granted. Even if it is, just a bottle of water.