New Living
Sophia Drewelow, Division 2, 12th grade

I scanned the open dirt yard of the orphanage. I don’t know who I was looking for but when I saw the small boy sitting in the corner staring at the wall, wearing nothing but a onesie, I knew where I needed to go. His face was covered in flies. The flies crawled into his eyes, ears and mouth. I was so moved that it felt like my heart had stopped. My eyes filled with tears and I experienced a trance-like moment where I thought I was going to pass out. Nothing in my life could have prepared me for this moment. By the look of his bloated stomach and glazed eyes, I could tell he was ill. I thought back to the previous night at our group meeting when Phil, the group leader, told us that we had to be strong at Jean Claude’s orphanage. Phil warned us of the difficulty of being in the presence of sick and hungry children and gave one piece of advice that I will always remember: smile and hold the kids close. So I just pulled all of my emotions together and took the boy’s hand and walked him over to a bench. I brushed all of the fleas from his eyes and reached under his arms and pulled him on my lap. He melted into me. I sat with him for the 3 hours that we were there; leaving him was the hardest moment of my life because I didn’t know if he was going to have a meal that night or if he was going to be there the next time I returned to Haiti. 

Traveling to many different places in the world has shown me who I am and has allowed me to see how people can create a meaningful life. One of the places that impacted my life the most is Haiti. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew there would be poverty, but what I saw was a place bereft of basic necessities. It was a transformative moment where I immediately felt heartbroken and love in the very same moment.  

In the U.S. people look at movie stars, professional athletes and famous singers as inspiration; I think that the true inspirational people and idols are the Haitians or people from the Dominican Republic, Africa, the ones living in poverty with nothing. They are the true idols, who keep living happily and are excited to live in the moment. For me, Haitians are truly the most inspiring people, their will to live with everything they have been through, children and parents killed and homes destroyed. Haitians have so much compassion and love in their hearts, welcoming anyone and everyone; they are the true inspiration. 

Prior to my first trip, I didn't appreciate drinking clean water, eating food, or sleeping in a bed. I assumed most people had those necessities; coming back from my trip, I am brought to tears just laying in my bed or seeing people throw away food. The way that we live here in the United States is such a luxury and the opportunities that we have available are beyond compare. It constantly amazes me how people aren't thankful for what they have. Haiti has showed me that my purpose in life is to help others, welcome them with open hearts and bring happiness into their lives. Haiti has helped me arrive to the conclusion that material things won’t bring me happiness, family and love are above all. 

Since returning home, I have spread the message and image about Haiti to friends and family. Telling my story about my mission is the way I can work on my passion at home. Through the landscape and the people Haiti keeps calling me back mentally and physically. Haiti has become apart of me and it will follow me for the rest of my life.

Be far going to Haiti, has been the best experience of my life. It has created and shaped me to who I am today. Haiti has brought light and love into my heart and mind, it has brought me to realize the real important things in life. And most importantly Haiti has taught me the true meanings of love, kindness, and appreciation. Love can be found and felt between so many people and in so many different situations; we witness love all the time. Appreciation is key for living and giving. Citizens in the United States are so fortunate for everything that we have, yet many people don't understand the pure meaning of being thankful and having appreciation for everything in ones life. 

Not only have I traveled to Haiti, but also many other beautiful and unique places around the world, such as Brasil, Zion, Mexico, Yosemite, and many other places. I have become enriched with the beauty of all those places and they have all added to my persona. Swimming deep into the ocean in Baja with the whale sharks, trekking through the Amazon with indians, sleeping alone days on end in the dense forest of Yosemite, and walking through the steel jungle of New York have all brought happiness and more peacefulness in to my life. 

With my countless mind and self building journeys that I have been, allows me to contribute a lot to an environment. I have been taught to take time with certain activities, and to try to bring a positive and happy energy to all environments campus, and I am ready to tackle any project brought to me and complete it with excellence. 

I believe that anyone can grow with going out into a different environment than their own, that being by themselves or with other people; it brings mental and physical growth. Personally I think, hardships and exploration are the two main keys for grow, with exploration being meditating among the trees or just going on a beach walk, anything can happen during ones time of exploration and can add to a wellbeing and soul immensely.
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