Like any other ordinary person, I would daydream of going on exotic adventures in distant lands, but like any ordinary person, I expected those fantasies would remain only dreams. My friends and I would sit and wonder what it would be like to go some place we knew nothing about. We wanted to know what life was like outside of our small town.
Dreams turned into ideas, ideas turned into plans, and before we knew it, eleven friends and I were preparing our trip to Kenya. Excitement overwhelmed us, and so did the cost. Three thousand five hundred dollars in three months was a heavy price to pay to a few jobless high school girls. But, we wanted this more than anything, and nothing was going to stop us.
I knew it was not going to be easy, I just did not know how hard it would be. I took odd jobs, sold cookies to strangers, babysat, and made Christmas gift baskets to sell. Many of us decided to give up Christmas, and ask only for money to pay off our debt. It seemed as though my efforts were doing nothing for me. I was still over a thousand short and I only had a month until the deadline. I was starting to get discouraged. When I told my expedition leader, she said something to me that eased my uncertainty.
“Are you going to Africa?” she asked.
“Yes.” I answered, confused by the question. Of course I was going, it is what I wanted more than anything.
“Then believe it,” she said. “And miracles will happen.”
Miracles did happen. A week before Christmas, which also happened to be when our money was due, all the girls in our group received a gift. A very generous benefactor had heard our story and decided to make up the difference on every girl’s payment. Emotions fell from the ceiling. Tears of joy, relief, and pure gratitude rolled down our cheeks. We were one-step closer to our dream.
After Christmas, we were back to work, this time together. Our goal was to raise thirty thousand dollars to build a school where the students would receive one meal a day. With many miracles along the way, we achieved our goal. Our dream was coming true.
The two weeks I spent in Kenya were best in my life. I would not change that experience for anything in the world. I learned more from the people of Kenya then I could ever teach them. I loved them, as much as I knew how. Every day was another miracle.
With hard work, dedication, and endurance all things are possible. If you can believe in what you are doing, miracles will happen, and you will succeed. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.