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Teen Talk

September 22, 2012

Teenhood Today: Trip gave perspective on true problems

I don’t know about you, but I tend to take everything for granted. For example, I never imagined my life without access to a shower, toilet or flip-flops. Even so much as the ability to wear shorts in the summer instead of pants was never considered to be a privilege. You never realize what you have until you don’t have it. 

This summer I was given the amazing opportunity to travel overseas to Cameroon, Africa, and visit three different AIDS orphan rescue units. At these units I helped fit people with reading glasses, treat some of their medical needs, and share the Gospel with them. 

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, it was not only the Africans who benefited from this trip, I was also given an understanding that we Americans are so privileged. 

America is known as the land of opportunity, and everyone knows it. Not many white people visit the areas we did, so whenever we’d travel by a village all the kids would run out, point frantically, and scream at the top of their lungs “white men!” And of course, those “white men” could only be Americans. It was not uncommon for a mother to approach one of us and hand over her child asking us to please take her baby and give it a better life in America. We also learned the proper way to decline a marriage proposal, because everyone knows that if you marry an American they will take you home with them and give you a better life. 

This is not to say that they live horrible lives. They live great lives! The children are fun to play with and the adults have great senses of humor. Everyone is so polite that honking your car horn is actually a courtesy to let everyone else on the road know that you’re coming through. There are no “sides of the street,” so facing traffic head-on is not uncommon and you learn to appreciate the horn very quickly. 

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