All the World to One Child

Waking up my stomach fills with a pit of anger and regret.  Hives and red patches form around my face and chest while thoughts of nerves and what ifs consume my mind.  Four-thirty in the morning is much too early to wake up for a trip that I have no desire to go on.

None of my close friends

will be traveling with me,

it takes ten days of


my summer, and how

am I going to have fun

in a country where

I cannot communicate

with anyone because my Spanish

talents are less than superb…

Lazily I finish packing my bags and sprint up the stairs so I am not late to the airport.

Arriving at the airport friends and family surround me jumping up and down with ecstatic looks on their faces…they can’t wait to leave for ten days, but me?  I’m not so sure.  Blinded by flashes of cameras it seems our mothers have turned into paparazzi’s attempting to get the perfect shot to post on Facebook and Instagram.  Meanwhile the teachers swarm the ticket counters like bumble bees around a beehive frantically trying to figure out our flight information.  Students from all different grades begin to clump into pods: 2013 Guatemala mission trip, 2014 Honduras Mission Trip, and then there was me… 2015 new to mission trip pod.

Wanting to turn back

I know I made a mistake.

What do I do now?

Dragging my feet I

plop down into my seat

and hope the flight is fast.

           Once landed in the Dominican Republic it takes us over an hour to arrive to NPH (the orphanage we will be staying at).  Thirty sweaty bodies fill the bus fit for twenty-five.  Sweat drips down the side of my face making my hair stick to my forehead like plaster; my legs stick together like a glue stick had just been applied in between them, and I turned into a camel with the need to gulp down water.

Gazing out the window

Poverty fills my vision like I

have never seen before.

Homes made out of nothing

but steel walls and dirt floors,

infants walking with

no parents, and trash

filled streets show me a whole

new world to unearth.

           A blue gate guards the insides of NPH; the bus driver hops out of the bus to open the gate and we drive into what seems to be a tiny city.  A church, a school, gardens, water towers, medical buildings, parks, a kitchen, and a guesthouse lay on the property.  Our guide Lourisha jokes saying, “The only thing we are missing is a bank!” Slowly children surround us; they don’t say anything to us, instead they stare, point, giggle, and whisper to each other.  Our group mimics their actions, but in English.  I so desperately want to know what they are saying about us, and I’m sure they are wondering the same.

Sleeping is a joke.

tossing, turning, and sweating

is all I can do.

Luckily morning

comes soon enough, but a

warm shower does not.

           Our second day of volunteering was the most important to me.  It wasn’t because moving the heavy rocks was unbearable, or the tarantulas crawling out of the ground every five minutes, but it was whom I met while doing this.  I noticed a shadow behind me, but it wasn’t from the sun.  It was from a little adorable, unpredictable, and sweet boy.

“Hola mi nombre

Es Lilly.  Tengo diecisiete.

Y tú?” “HoolA! Me

Llamo Luiscito!

Tengo ocho años. Hablas

Divertido! Ha ha”

           The way he spoke was so interesting to me; Luiscito would enunciate random letters in all of his words, and it stuck with me.  From that point on I had a mini me for the rest of my trip.  We stuck together like two peas in a pod and could only be pulled apart when it was time to go to bed.  Each day he would run up to me, grab my arm, and yell, “HoolA! VamOnos!” and take me on various adventures throughout NPH.  One day he took me to the gardens and the cerdos.  “Aguacate, calabaza, melón, naranja, y uvas!” He would excitedly yell out to me as we passed each food.  Finally, we made it to the cerdos; snorting, oinking, and laughter filled the air as we snapped some selfies with them

The simplicity

and joy Luiscito brought

to my days gave me


a true happiness

I had never felt before.

Barely communicating

through our languages

a strong bond has been made that

cannot be broken.

           Saying goodbye was apart of the trip I had dreaded from the moment I met Luiscito.  My body felt heavy with sadness, and tears streamed down my face uncontrollably.  The tight embrace of Luiscito was something I never wanted to have taken away.

I worried for his

safety, happiness, and future;

it was hard for


me to realize I

would no longer know what they

he was doing 24/7.


We would be 2, 403 miles apart.

I could feel my self-changing throughout the trip; simples things made me happy, my appearance didn’t matter as much, and materialistic items didn’t bring me joy anymore.  Arriving home I knew how different I really was.  Walking down to my basement I instantly started crying for I was overwhelmed with all the unnecessary items that filled my home.  TV’s, fireplaces, and a huge bed were a waste of money.

“I need this and I need

that.” Those words infuriate

In America

We are so used to

everything being a “need”.

It’s time to reflect.

           A need is defined to be something required because it is essential, and a want is to have a desire to possess or wish for something.  Before I traveled to NPH I believed anything I wanted was a need.  Being back home all I could think about were the kids, and how much I wanted to be back with them.  I thought going on a $2,000 senior spring break trip with my friends was a need, but I realized it was barely a want compared to my want to see the kids again.

One boy, ten days, one

trip that was life changing.

One girl must go back.

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel back to NPH this spring break to volunteer and see Luiscito again.  He changed who I am and I can’t wait to fulfill my promise of visiting one more time.

“You may be one person

in the world, but you may be the

whole world to one child.”