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Trip Transformers: New Perspectives From Kenya
When Joey and Magdalena left their homes in Connecticut and embarked on a journey to the Maasai Mara in Kenya on a Me to We trip, they knew that they would be travelling half-way around the world, but they didn’t realize how far the journey would take them – a journey not only of miles, but of perspective.
Before the trip, Joey and Magdalena had been actively engaged with their school, fundraising to build a school in a Free The Children community in Kenya. So, when they signed up for a Me to We trip, they knew that it would be a meaningful trip, but they didn’t realize how much it would affect the way they viewed both the world and their own lives.
Arriving in Kenya, Joey and Magdalena both had an understanding of the challenges that faced families living in rural communities in Kenya, but seeing these challenges first-hand proved to be eye-opening. “I thought I did [understand poverty] “ Joey says, “but my whole perspective changed once I got here and I saw all the kids living in these dirt houses made out of sticks And I saw how the mamas walked 5/10 miles just to get clean water, and most of the time it wasn’t even clean. . . And I saw this and I was so surprised and my whole perspective was changed.”
For Magdalena, hunger was the issue that became very real to her: “I didn’t understand what hunger was. I always thought that hunger was “Mom, I’m hungry. Make me something to eat.” . . . And my mom would always be like “no you’re not starving”. . . [but] starving meant you’re almost going to actually die.”
While Joey and Magdalena both received a deeper understanding of the issues faced by these communities, the trip experience also resonated in a deeply personal way. Even as they learned more about the challenges of accessing clean water, education, and even food, for families in the Maasai Mara, they also saw how these families faced these challenges: “ One of the things that surprised me the most,” Joey says, “was the way that no matter what they had . . . they were happy all the time . . . And that surprised me more than all the beautiful scenery in all of Kenya.”
Seeing so much joy in the families who had so little, both Joey and Magdalena expressed the deep desire to be thankful. Coming out of this, Magdalena says she “will definitely appreciate life.”
Joey, in his turn, expressed how much he had to be thankful for: “I have such great friends and such great family, and . . . I am lucky enough to be born into a place where not everyone has to live in poverty. And I definitely will have a new perspective on people that do, and I’ll definitely always keep Kenya in my mind.”
For these two young change-makers, it was the act of experiencing life from someone else’s perspective that would profoundly change their own view. For Magdalena, it is not enough to merely tell someone about the poverty and challenges facing families around the world. “I think they should actually live it,” she says. “Then they would understand.”
Find out how you can go on your own Me to We trip. Visit http://metowe.com/trips