Friday, January 6, 2012

It's the People

I came into this trip not knowing what to expect.  I had preconceived notions that people in poverty are sad and would be happier if they had a couple more material goods.  This is not the case at all.  One of the biggest surprises for me was how happy all the people are.  Not once did I see someone sad or crying.  These people don’t want or need material things like so many of us feel we do.  They are content and happy with what they have and are just grateful for their families and for another day.

There were many different aspects to this trip: learning the history, seeing the cities and the poverty, and meeting the people.  When thinking about each of those, I realize that it is the people that have made the biggest impact on me.  Through the relationships I’ve formed, the conversations I’ve had, the laughing and playing, the working, and so much more.

Meeting all of the Salvadoran people was my favorite part of the trip.  As the trip went on, I found myself picking my next site not by the type of work that I would be doing there, but by the people at each site.  I found myself wanting to go back to one of the sites to see the children.  They were so happy and playful and all they wanted was some attention from one of us.  It didn’t matter if all you could say to them was “Como te llamas” (which means “What is your name?”).  They were happy with a smile, a wave, or a laugh.  I found myself connecting to these children through actions more than words because my Spanish was so limited.  This was amazing to me: the fact that regardless of the language barrier I could get to know each one’s personality and we could play and laugh together all the same.

As I get ready to head back to the United States, I think about all the things that I have gained this trip.  I’ve gained 20 new friends, countless memories and laughs, a sense of service, and a new outlook on some of the aspects in my own life.  I’m excited to go home and see my family and friends again, but along with that comes sadness knowing that I will probably never see these people again.  In only a short week they have made such a huge impact on my life.  I will never forget the smiling faces of the children, the appreciative faces of the adults, and the excited faces of everyone working on the trip.

Whitney Rucker is a senior at the Colorado School of Mines and a member of Sigma Kappa.

No comments: