How the Middle East Changed Me

3 March 2019

When I was twelve years old I found myself in an Egyptian hotel. My sister was studying abroad and my mom and I had come to visit her. This was my great adventure and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. The Middle East was not meeting my expectations though. The boys with dark skin that walked the streets followed my blonde hair with their eyes. The sounds of Arabic filled the air. I was suddenly prejudiced and scared.
Over the next few days things changed. I went with my sister to a living area called Garbage City, where the inhabitants were literally surrounded by piles and piles of garbage. Nuns of Mother Teresa called the Sisters of Charity ran an orphanage, and we helped with the infants. I held one of the smaller ones in my arms and thought about what her future would be like. Would she grow up knowing only the smell of garbage? Would she get a decent education? Would she have the same chance to succeed that my own child would have in America? I decided to come back to Africa and help in any way that I could.

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Egypt changed my views on life. My stay in Egypt put the value placed on materialistic things into perspective. I could live with much less, knowing that other people were forced to survive with much, much less. Now my only dreams are to travel. There are kids waiting for a chance after all.

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