As I’m sitting on the plane back to Vancouver, I can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. Disappointment in the society I currently live in and the way we spend money. The way I spend money, the way I live. The fact that even though I won my electronic devices from contess or competitions doesn’t justify my life style. I am changed and I can’t ever live my life without having flashes of the face’s from the El Trapiche community and their lifestyles. I can’t stop thinking about the entirety of my life everywhere I go. I see so many people who live comfortable lifestyles. The thousands of people I pass by in the airport, the mall, restaurants, libraries, and on the road. All these people have the luxury to satisfy their needs, wants, and desires by acquiring entertainment, vehicles, advanced education, and unnecessary appliances or materials for their daily lives. How many affluent people are there in the world? I know there aren’t many, no matter how many masses of people I see each and every day, it’s no feat compared to the millions without access to clean water, food security, financial stability, health sanitation, education, or human rights. Just the fact that North America has only 10% of the world’s population but has twice to three times the amount of food, health resources, and wealth than many of the world’s continents makes me sick. Places like Africa, has 75% of the world’s affected people with HIV/AIDs, uses 3-4% of the world’s health and food resources, and most sickening only 1% of the world’s wealth. The list could go on with the absolutely disgusting distribution of the world’s wealth and resources; the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting even more neglected.
Even though I am re-energized by seeing the suffering of the people I have tried so desperately to help the past few years become a little alleviated, I am ashamed to say that I will never know what they go through until I experience exactly what they’ve gone through. There are feelings of despair when one is not able to support their family because the weather failed to cooperate despite the year round toiling in the sun. There are feelings of helplessness when one’s mother is pregnant but they have to watch her suffer because they can do nothing to help her get access to the proper health care. There are feelings of exhaustion when all one wants to do is to break out of the cycle of poverty by bettering the future with education but after long days of working in the heat for their family and then needing to walk 10km through a dangerous cliff just to get to school is impossible. Then there are feelings of thirst for water yet not having any so one goes without water for days until the days there are water, it is not sanitary… but does one drink to die or die of thirst?
All these raw feelings were described to me by members of the El Trapiche community I had the wonderful privilege to visit. I am blessed to go back home and start taking even more action but I have an aching heart to leave this amazing community and country. The people who have so little are the people with the biggest hearts. The adults, teenagers, and children that I met welcomed me with warm hearts, bright smiles, and their willingness to share their stories. I have never felt so loved and appreciated by strangers. These strangers who in such a short period of time have become my family. They have such humble hearts, resilient courage, and noteworthy determination that will forever inspire me. Even though we couldn’t carry a conversation more than a few sentences, our hearts spoke the words that were the most important and that was love.
Love speaks volumes and if it’s anything I learned from my role models is that it doesn’t matter how much you give, it’s how much love you put into giving.
I went into El Trapiche with the thought that I was going to “help” with building a school. Even though I spent many gruelling hours in scorching heat pick-axing, carrying buckets of dirt, shovelling, making cement, and piling bricks, I wasn’t just building a school, I was building sometime much bigger than that. I built on the foundations of what I believed in. I wasn’t helping these people, instead when they thanked me all I wanted to say was that they couldn’t even comprehend how much they were impacting me and not the other way around. They were the ones who taught me what humility, humbleness and love really mean.
I have the responsibility to do what’s right once I know what is wrong… we all have that responsibility.
“When we use our intelligence and knowledge to serve people, humanity has hope. We are the hope, we are the future.”