Friendship is Possible Among all People

Erin - 60526, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe friendship is possible among all people. Over the summer, I spent a month away from home on a student ambassador program. More than a week of my trip was spent on the main island of Fiji, which is located about four hours from Australia.

The island itself is my definition of a tropical paradise. The always visible ocean was a crystal clear aqua blue. Palm trees, sugar cane and Frangipani flowers cover the land. Pigs, chickens, horses, goats, dogs, and cats wander the roadsides where women and children lay sprawled across blankets selling fresh oranges, pineapples, and passion fruit. The Fijians towns are small, sometimes just the length of a block. They live in crude shacks with roofs constructed from the bark of coconut trees.

Many children are taught in their village school. On the trip we were able to visit one of the public schools where the luckier Fijian students are taught. The classrooms of the public school consisted of trailers scattered along a mountain that overlooked the ocean.

When we arrived, each of us student ambassadors was paired with a Fijian student our age. We then shadowed them throughout their school day. The first class I attended was math, where the students practiced a few problems before the period ended and they moved to the computer lab.

Coincidentally, this was their first day of taking the class, and also the first time many of them had ever seen a computer. It was quite an experience for me to show the girl I shadowed a few of the neat programs featured on a computer. I began with a blank word document and typed out a few sentences for her. Then I showed her a slideshow of pictures that were already stored on the computer. It was fun because each time the photo changed, her and her friends would give out a little squeal of delight.

After a few more classes the school day ended. The next morning, our ambassador group spent a day at the beach with a handful of students from the school. The day consisted of a boat ride, snorkeling, beach volley ball, and kayaking. Over the course of the day I began to really know the girl I had shadowed. We had a lot of fun and both learned much about the similarities and differences of our cultures. I realized that despite the differences in our countries and ways we both live, we were able to build a friendship and enjoy each others company. This brought me to my belief that friendship is possible among all people, even if they are from the other side of the world.