Finding Common Ground

Ashlee - Chandler, Arizona
Entered on December 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the people of this world. I am a part of these people that form into vast societies, cultures, and human species that I have ever known or not known. I believe that there is good, heart and morality to everyone that is on this earth. While the human race is so widely defined, I live in an ever evolving place where societies can learn, grow, and change. I believe that each person in this world is capable of co-existing with each other, and finding common ground. I know that there is a place that is past the prejudice, hate, and ignorance that occurs everyday. I know that people have an ability to put aside differences and be able to come together and live amongst each other despite the hostility that may be going on in the world.

So, where did I get these types of beliefs? I think it is from living all over the world, but there was one place that really helped to shape me. When I was in sixth grade, I was living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. By this time, I had already lived there with my family for over a year, so I was accustomed to the Saudi way of life, as well knew where I fit in amongst that. We lived on a compound that was gated and had guards at the front gate, but my American family lived amongst all different types of people and nationalities. Since we lived right outside of town, driving into the open desert wasn’t exactly that far away. On the weekends, my dad would take me and my younger sister out to the desert, and look for different treasures in the sand. On the drive there, the scenery consisted of camels, sand, and more camels; but it was something that we became used to seeing. Usually my mom would pack a lunch for us and we would climb on the top of the truck to eat, and enjoy the seclusion of the dunes. This would sometimes serve as our family entertainment on the weekends, but it was a nice getaway from the city.

There was one particular trip that stands out most to me though. It was approaching the end of the day, and we had collected a lot of fossils and quartz and decided it was time to head back home. As we were driving out of the desert, I saw a baby goat looking lost and crying on the side of the sandy road. I begged my dad to stop, and we got out to see if it was hurt. The goat was very little, but it seemed like it had wandered from its home. My dad encouraged me to pick it up, bring it in the front seat and we could take it to the Bedouins tents that we saw in the distance. Without hesitation, I scooped up the goat like a baby, and held it with me. With the goat ‘baaa-ing’ as loud as it could, and my dad four-wheeling up to the Bedouin tent, it made for a great adventure. When we got to the tent, we were greeted by the Saudi Arabian Bedouins. The children that were there came running and were laughing because I was carrying their goat. My dad had picked up a little bit of Arabic at his job, and offered the goat to the family, so somehow he told them that we had found it, and they were very grateful. The Bedouin man shook my dad’s hand, and thanked us for bringing them their lost goat; my sister and I sort of waved goodbye and climbed back into the car. I’m pretty sure we were laughing on the ride home; I couldn’t wait to tell my mom and my sister couldn’t believe that I had held a goat.

At the time, I didn’t realize the significance of the trip, but once I had returned back to the states a few years later, the simple adventure story sort of hit me. There was a Saudi Arabian Bedouin family and an American family that had peacefully and without question, interacted with each other without any sort of hostility, awkwardness, or un-welcoming. Looking back on that time, there was no prejudice or weariness towards either group whatsoever, and without hesitation we were able to do more than just merely exist amongst each other.

This adventure proved to me that there can be good in every person. It doesn’t matter where anyone comes from, or what they might look like. There is still a place where two completely different cultures can stand upon, and know that it is their common ground. This is why I believe in the people of this world.