UGANDA AND RWANDA
Jennifer Enriquez, DCIS-Montbello
“The Persian poet Rumi once said, “Travel brings power and love back into your life.” With the amazing opportunity I received, I learned that what Rumi says is true. The single fact that I was in Africa made me feel empowered and honored to be able to represent my family, race, and community. Furthermore, being away from everything for the first time for so long made me appreciate my family, friends and even America so much more. Not only did I come to realize how much I should appreciate all these things but my family and friends also learned how much they appreciate me.
Furthermore, in this trip I was able to find myself. With this experience I was able to get out of my comfort zone and do new things. For example, rafting in the Nile River even though I do not know how to swim, going gorilla trekking, and getting on a plane for the first time. I would have never imagined doing any of these things before but now I have discovered a new adventurous side of me, as well as new hobbies. Also, going with an NGO and learning about other NGOs in Africa helped me establish my dreams and goals. I have a passion for justice for non-English speakers in the U.S., but I never knew what I could do in my future to help solve this problem other than being a law enforcer. But after learning about NGOs I now know that in the future I want to be the CEO of my own NGO to solve this problem.
Not only was I able to find myself in this trip, but I also gained a lot of knowledge. “Life is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” After my trip to Uganda and Rwanda I was able to understand what St. Augustine means. Before my trip, I only had the perspective that media portrays to us about Africa. This trip opened my eyes to the real world and the truth hidden behind the sensationalized journalism. I learned that Africa doesn’t need “saving” or “westernization.” They have a different lifestyle that is foreign to us but they are happy.
Lastly, in this trip I met amazing people that I have the pleasure to call friends now. At first I was very nervous about going to a different country for the first time with complete strangers, but now I am very thankful that I met them. They always looked out for me and they completed the very difficult task of getting me out of my comfort zone. Although it was only three weeks, I feel like I’ve known most them for my entire life.
Overall, this experience changed my entire life for the better and I simply cannot express in words how much I am thankful to the DCIS Foundation, Global Livingston Institute, and Mr. Truswell for the most wonderful time of my life. Thank you very much, you do not know how much you have impacted my life, God bless you.”