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My trip to Africa has inspired me in so many ways. To be specific, it is the people I met.

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In my travels, I have seen people who have very little in their lives, however, in Africa, I met people who had next to nothing. Every day is a struggle to eat, to be free from illness or to have a roof over your head (that can withstand bad weather). Many of us can’t even relate to these types of issues.

The people we saw in Africa have no social support systems to help them out financially. There are no government programs. If they can’t find a job, they move into what is called a township,
a very poor community where they will do whatever they can to earn a few dollars to pay for water and food for their families.

Cooking

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Boys

We helped build a house in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and The Give Movement Journey for a family. They live in a dirt/clay hut that floods when it rains. There is no floor, no washroom, no kitchen. They have very few clothes. Their 13 year old daughter has malaria.

Family

This family does not complain, or whine or sit back holding out their hands. They were so appreciative of what we were doing for them – it made it all worthwhile.

When I worked in the hotel business and there was a fund raising request for a fellow employee, it was always the employees with the lowest incomes who gave the most.

These are only two examples – but they illustrate a message to me. When we have to do without something, it gains in value to us. When we have it handed to us, without any effort on our part, we come to expect it. We get desensitized to what we have. Many of us become entitled.

I really think that the people I have encountered on my African trip are the happiest I have met in the world. They have a positive outlook on life and appreciate what they do have. They are humble and grateful for any help or support they are given.

Gratitude, humility and respect all come from having to work for what you have. They come from having limits and boundaries. Sometimes, saying ‘no’ to another person is the best thing you can do for them. How many of us take time out to think about our lives and the people around us.

I’m focusing on appreciating what I do have, who I have in my life and making a conscious effort to express that gratitude. I’ve chosen not to worry about minor issues. I want to be the one who has a positive influence on others. I just want to spend my days being happy.