How to Deal

Jennifer - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on March 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

It is easy to blow up a small situation. To feel like your life is ending because of a little drama.

That used to be me: every little thing became the biggest catastrophe. I would get mad if I did not get my way, especially when someone did not agree with my ideas. Looking back, I cannot believe that I was ever so selfish or so easily upset and angered.

I now believe that I have control over how I deal with situations in my life, good or bad, and the way I deal will shape my life.

The summer of 2005, my world was turned up-side-down. I went to Nicaragua expecting to work construction and teach children. However, when we pulled in the village amidst the murky, poop-mixed mud, and with chickens, pigs, and livestock literally roaming around freely, it became clear that our “plan” just got thrown out the window. Upon arriving, we were informed that the village’s corn crop, the villagers’ main source of food and income, had been completely destroyed by flood. These people were literally starving. Our attention immediately turned to finding a short-term solution to this colossal crisis. Fortunately with the help of the village’s leader, Adam, we were able to pull enough money together and buy enough food to sustain each family in the village for about one month; the amount of food we gave each family would sadly last only one week in America. I was amazed and blown away by the attitudes of every person in that village. The women and men lined up to learn something new that might possibly help their family survive another month. Unlike Americans, opportunities for a better life are not readily available. The fields designated for their corn crop could not be moved farther away from the always overflowing river; they were stuck with that land. These people use what they have to get by and never throw pity parties for themselves.

Throughout the course of this trip, I was riding an extremely bumpy emotional rollercoaster. I could not shake my feelings of guilt and remorse for my attitude back at home. Then something unexpectedly happened that triggered the real internal change. One day, I was walking down a greenish-muddied street with about four little girls with beautiful faces masked by mud, gunk from infection, and matted hair. We were walking in a straight line, because these little girls wanted to hold hands: they even fought over who would hold the hands of the gringa. While walking along, we came across this puddle, and every girl, with no shoes on I should add, led me around this greenish putrid-smelling puddle, walking through the middle of it, so my shoes would stay clean. At five or six, I would never have walked through a puddle of crap for someone else. Later that day, they even tried to wash my shoes. Those little girls blew my mind; I was supposed to be a steward for them, helping them, but they displayed true servant-hood towards me.

After this experience, I could no longer justify my rants and tirades. I am so far from being perfect and still have to put myself in check, because I believe that I have control over how I deal with situations. I will see hard times, but I will always remember those little girls who live in filth, and I will always remember their dirt smeared faces with the brightest smiles shining through the darkness. Little Aracely and Katie and all those little girls have chosen how to deal and now it is my turn.