Courage Is Getting Uncomfortable To Help Others

Courage Is Getting Uncomfortable To Help Others

| Mijal Eisen, 31, Miami

I have always loved to help others, I know it sounds cliché, but it is true. My voluntary work began when I was 10 years old and I would spend my Friday afternoons playing with orphan kids at a local orphanage in my home country.

Throughout my entire college years, my dream was to volunteer in an orphanage in Africa. That was it. I didn’t know how I would do it, I just wanted to do it. But I never did much besides browsing online through pictures and imagining the experience.

I guess I was scared of actually going.

Right after my college graduation, coincidentally one of my really good friends told me she wanted to do it too. Now that I had somebody to go with I didn’t think it twice. We signed up, packed our bags and just went for it. We were supposed to spend 5 weeks in an orphanage located in a village in Kenya.

Once we got there, we realized we had no clue what was about to happen, or where did we get ourselves into. 

I remember my first night, telling myself,

“What did I do? How am I going to survive the next 5 weeks?"

Everything that we once took for granted in our day-to-day lives is a luxury over there.

I didn’t know I was privileged to have clean water until I lived without it.

We didn’t have electricity unless it was a sunny day and we didn’t have clean water unless it rained.

Our bathroom was a hole in the ground that we shared with the rest of the volunteers and the one time we were lucky to eat chicken was because of a national holiday when they would kill a rooster to celebrate with a feast (I saw that).

Field trips meant going to the local dispensary (1-hour away walking) to take the kids for HIV checkups.

I have to say that the questions I had my first night were easily answered after a couple of days. 

In just a few days, all of my personal fears disappeared and my only preoccupation was to make those kids happy while I was there.

I learned that we don’t need a field or even shoes to play soccer. And just like that, I learned to appreciate the simple things in life.

Once you see how these kids live and how HAPPY they actually are, you kind of feel guilty of complaining about a rainy day at home. And believe me when I tell you, they are truly HAPPY.

I guess you have to see it to believe it.

Photo provided by the author, Mijal Eisen

Photo provided by the author, Mijal Eisen

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