Living the Life for Others

Martha - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I have always taken the initiative of doing things for other people as a priority in my life. I am always ready to lend a hand to someone in need. I serve in my community as much as possible and I love helping in any way I can.

My family and I took a trip to Nicaragua in the summer of 2008. It is the place where both my parents grew up and where most of my relatives live. I enjoy visiting my family since I only get to see them every four years. They are always welcoming and full of smiles and hugs. The world they live in is so much different than the world I live in. They live in chaos and poverty, I live in a quiet neighborhood with old people. Throughout my trip, I encountered little children selling gum in the streets to support their family, shouldn’t they be in schools? I encountered women chasing burglars for their purses, where is the security? I encountered piles of trash along all the streets and sidewalks, where is the order?

One special encounter I will always remember is the discussion I had with one of my cousins. He is only one year older than me so it is easier to talk to him and relate to him. I had a lot of questions for him, eager to get a better sense of a usual life of a teenager in Nicaragua. He was just as eager, or even more so, to hear about my life in the magical United States. I asked him about school and what it was like. His school was very different compared to mine. He asked me what I liked to do for fun and told me how lucky I was to be able to go out so much. We talked about our ambitions. He told me he wanted to become a musicians and that he wanted to learn to play the guitar better. He played a song on a guitar he had borrowed, he did not have money for his own. We enjoyed discussing our lives because they were so different.

Ever since this discussion, I feel a sense of guilt for everything I have, and for having the opportunity to have so much more. I have decided to take a different approach to my life, I work hard and strive for something better not only for myself, but also for those who don’t have that opportunity. I refuse to take what I have for granted while others can only hope and pray to have what is given to me. This ideology drives me to work hard and accomplish my goals, it helps me conquer all my setbacks. I feel the responsibility to take advantage of my opportunities and do great things with my life for those who are not as lucky as I am. I will take that responsibly. This I believe.