English 11, Narrative Essay
I have an addiction. I am sick. An addiction to comfort and possessions. An addiction to my phone. I have never really been away from these necessities. Until last January, when my mom asked me a question that would change my life: ”Wanna go to Ethiopia for a missions trip?”
Why would I want to go to place without wifi or water?
I politely declined her offer. At first she wasn’t surprised. She knows how stubborn I can be. Going to a developing country like Ethiopia wasn’t even something that I had thought about.
After a few months of thinking and hesitating, despite my fear, I decided to take a leap in my faith and travel to Ethiopia. On March 12, 2017 I sat through the longest drive ever imaginable, just to the airport. Little did I know about what was on the other side of my flight. The flight was long and painful. Ethiopian airlines has the worst seats imaginable. I tried sleeping; I couldn’t. I tried reading; I couldn’t. I tried to eat the plane food; I couldn’t. Nothing went my way.
By the time we reached Addis Ababa I felt ready to drop. The combination of no sleep, jet lag, and the heat, exhausted me. Once we got off the plane we went straight into a car. This car ride wasn’t short; a 5 hour drive on a dirt road. Looking down to my phone with no service was painful. How was I suppose to check snapchat? It all hit me at this moment. The culture shock was unreal. The amount of the world that I didn’t fully understand was surprising.
Of course we are taught about developing countries. I see suffering everyday on the news, but not like this. You will never understand the suffering that goes on until experiencing it in person. On the way to Gojo Shewa, we passed villages made of
garbage, multiple broken cars, and many men holding guns. Gojo was a small city of 80,000 people. Gojo was full of poverty. Going through the town, was hard. All the boys were playing soccer with a flat ball. Even though they had nothing, they were still smiling. My confusion began to grow.
How can someone be happy when they live here?
We had reached the compound. The compound was a little house where all the missionaries stayed, it is full of rodents, and there is rarely running water. When there is water, it can be dirty, super cold, and may even shock you when you turn on the shower. The food was horrific. The cleanliness was awful. The people were awesome.
The people in Ethiopia have servant hearts. They are the hardest working people I have ever met. The level of work they put in made me look bad. I was working harder then ever before just to keep up. When asked to help, they would do way more than expected. I usually do the least possible. Not only would they work hard, they were always happy while working. I had already learnt more than I expected.
The second day in Ethiopia, we were able to help at churches across the city. I was also able to volunteer at an orphanage. The kids at the orphanage had gone though more than I had ever gone through. Some of the kids had been working for their families from the age of three. They had to work to be able to put food on their plate. I had always taken three meals a day for granted. The smiles on the kids was life changing. Just playing with them meant the world to them. Me just being there showed that someone cared about them.
During the next few weeks we continued to help with the orphans, interview pastors, and do whatever was asked. My happiness began to grow. I rarely looked at my phone anymore. I began to look for places where I could help; however, my body
was becoming worn down. I felt like I could barely walk. My clothes were all dirty. I loved Ethiopia; nevertheless, I was home sick.
I decided to go play soccer with some of the kids on the street. We got into a intense soccer game, both teams were struggling for the win. That is when a successful looking man approached me.
“You play soccer?”
“Yah,” I replied.
I was shocked at the level of his English
“Good,” answered Salim. “I will pick you up tomorrow.”
I was excited to play soccer as I have a passion for the sport. It Turned out Salim was a coach for the club team in Gojo. The nervousness crept up on me. I was going to go play with a club team in a different country, where they don’t speak my language.
Salim picked me up in his car the next day. We drove through Gojo. The ride was about one hour. Salim was a kind hearted man. We approached the dirt field. There were about twenty boys standing there in matching uniforms. The youngest was about thirteen and the oldest was around eighteen. They came running and hugged me. I felt welcomed right away. Even without communication they found a way to make me feel loved. The Ethiopians are amazing soccer players. They were fast, and had the stamina of a Honda civic. The competition wasn’t like competition in Canada. They were able to keep the intensity while still being friends with the other team.
I felt like family. I felt loved. I felt cared about. I didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere wasn’t explainable. I didn’t feel an urge to snap it. I wanted to experience it, because who knows when this would happen again. My insecurities were gone. I knew they weren’t judging me. They accepted everyone.
Going into this trip I felt like I was going to help. Little did I know that I was going to be the one who would be helped. Ethiopia has destroyed my whole perspective on life. It has shown me how true happiness doesn’t come from possessions. Ethiopians are happy in a place away from material possessions and excessive comfort that may hold us in bondage. They are free, even though they enjoy less recognized freedom than us. Our culture has a sickness, and visiting Ethiopia could heal us.
Two things I did well:
- My ideas and purpose of my story was very creative I believed.
- I believe I did a good job at explaining how I was feeling during the entire process.
Two things I could approve on:
- Word Choice
- explaining the setting