Day 6

From: Ryan Elliott, E.L. Crossley
So…how do I say what I am feeling right now. I do not think it is possible to fully put it into words, but I will give it a shot. This weekend opened my eyes. I’ve been to a resort before, and on the beach, but this time it proved to me how much I really have changed. Normally the trip to the resort is full of sleeping and anxious waiting for the beach. This time I could not possibly take my eyes off of my surroundings. I felt an enormous amount of guilt, to the point that I had a knot in my stomach. I realise now how much I have taken for granted and how I will never again be the same person. Last night we all had our usual nightly gathering, and we talked about our impressions of what we have seen, and how it has affected us. I was one of the first to go, but as we went around the circle, new thoughts were constantly pouring into my head. Someone talked about boys that they saw selling jewelry outside the resort, who must have been between 8 and 10. They felt bad for buying it because it meant that they accepted the fact that the kids lived that way, and we were tourists taking advantage of their situation. On the other hand, if we didn’t buy it, they would likely not eat that night. The analogy that popped into my head immediately, was someone trying to fix leak in a dam. They take what that have right with them, a piece of gum, and hold it over the leak while they search for concrete to fix it permanently. Buying the jewelry is like using the gum. It gets the job done for a little while, but in the end we need to find a permanant solution to the problem. We also talked about happiness, and how we may judge success by possessions, but in terms of happiness, the people we have seen far exceed us. I, again, was brought to something I have seen before. My little brother has a t-shirt that says “I would like a chance to prove that money doesn´t buy happiness”. Well little bro, I have found the proof that you need. I have one last thing I have to say, Í’m sorry to everyone about how long this is, but it’s my attempt to share what I am feeling. We talked about how if we left here without taking back anything that changes us, we will have lost a lot. One of the most important things I have gotten from here, are 18 relationships that I never would have had before. If we leave here, and forget about each other and go back to our 19 different lives, we will have lost people that have been so very important to each of us. I would like to think that at least the 11 students will remain in contact and stay friends, but only time will tell.
Until tomorrow, Mom, Dad, Evan, and everyone else I love, I miss you all so much, and I will see you in 3 days!
Love, Ryan

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