Open Our Eyes | Teen Ink

Open Our Eyes

August 12, 2009
By Jessievangee GOLD, Burlington, Massachusetts
Jessievangee GOLD, Burlington, Massachusetts
10 articles 8 photos 5 comments

It was to be the trip of a lifetime. 10 days in Belize City, Belize, building homes and ministering to the residents. I know that to a lot of American teenagers, sleeping on a cement floor, finding mice in your luggage, 107 degree weather, having no proper mirror, or even a hot shower for ten days doesn’t exactly sound like the vacation of a lifetime. But this was the trip that me and eleven other teenagers from my youth group decided to go on. We all agreed to brave the heat and put our wants aside to help reach the people of Belize.

The prep work for the trip was exhausting. There were passports to apply for, paperwork to fill, not to mention the countless hours spent doing fundraisers and writing letters to raise the money we needed. During this preparatory time, the trip seemed so far away. It was something that was happening months away, that didn’t have anything to d with our daily lives. Our leader challenged that. He taught us that in order to get the most we could out of our trip we needed to prepare our hearts to serve. This trip wasn’t a glorified vacation, it was about serving others and putting ourselves last.

Boy did we need that lesson. The minute we stepped off the plane and into the wall of heat outside we were all praying for air conditioning. Of course, this was not to be. Our room was about twelve feet by eight feet, the smallest room in the school, and eight girls were supposed to fit in it. There were countless bugs, and one night when I opened my bag a mouse popped out. We could have been down in the dumps thinking, “Poor us, we want our own beds back,” but we thought of the positives instead. The new friends from all over the country we were meeting, the amazing people of Belize, and our new can-do attitudes.

We Americans have it easy. After all, the greatest goal we have is graduating with a high enough G.P.A. to make it into State U, getting a good job, and make money. But what if that can’t happen? Shirley was born in Belize City, Belize, with sickle cell anemia. She is seventeen and the size of a twelve year old girl, as well as having countless medical problems. Her one wish is to one day be well enough to go to school and have a chance to help other people who are sick. She puts me to shame.

This trip was an opportunity for me and other teenagers to open up our eyes to how things really are in the world around us, and to not get comfortable with our little protected bubbles that we grew up in. But you don’t need to go halfway around the world to help people. There are hurting people everywhere. We have all been given an opportunity to change our world. We all just need to open our eyes to the needs and do our part to help.

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